In an historic new poll of Cuba, Fusion found that Cubans are overwhelmingly supportive of normalizing relations with the U.S., optimistic about their future—and bigger fans of Barack Obama than either Castro brother.
The poll—considered to be the biggest and most comprehensive independent public opinion study conducted on the island in the past 50 years—was conducted by local pollsters under the direction of the Miami-based firm Bendixen & Amandi on behalf of Univision Noticias/Fusion in collaboration with The Washington Post. It was conducted without the consent of the Cuban government; 1,200 Cubans across the island were interviewed in person between March 17-27. The data offers a unique insight into public opinion on an island where reliable polling is notoriously difficult and where 75 percent of Cubans claim they have to be careful what they say in public. (Here's more on the methodology and full results.)
The poll claims a 2.8 percent margin of error and a 95 percent confidence level.
Here are some of the key findings:
- 80 percent of Cubans say they have a positive opinion of Barack Obama.
- 47 percent of Cubans say they have a positive opinion of Raul Castro.
- 44 percent of Cubans say they have a positive opinion of Fidel Castro.
- 64 percent of Cubans would like to travel abroad, and 55 percent would like to live in another country. Of those wanting to emigrate, 52 percent want to live in the U.S.
- 73 percent of Cubans say they are optimistic about their future.
- 34 percent of Cubans say they receive money from family members abroad, 61 percent of whom are living in the U.S.
- 94 percent of Cubans who receive remittances say they use the money to cover everyday expenses, 39 percent say they save, and 11 percent say they invest in a business.
- 70 percent of Cubans would like to own their own business.
- 79 percent are dissatisfied with the economic system, while only 19 percent of Cubans say they are satisfied.
- 72 percent of Cubans say they are satisfied with the education system.
- 68 percent of Cubans say they are satisfied with the health care system.
- 39 percent of Cubans said they are satisfied with the political system, while 53 percent said they are dissatisfied.
- 32 percent of Cubans have a positive view of the Communist Party, while 58 percent say they have a negative view of the ruling party. 52 percent said Cuba should have more than one party. 46 percent said they have a positive view of opposition groups, while 33 percent have a negative view and 21 percent said they don't know or didn't answer.
- 75 percent of Cubans —including 80 percent of 18-49 year olds — said they have to be careful what they say in public, while only 19 percent said they feel they can express themselves freely in public.
- 53 percent of Cubans think the U.S. is a Friend of Cuba. Here are how other countries ranked, in order: Bolivia (95 percent); Ecuador (94 percent); Venezuela (93 percent); Argentina (84 percent); Colombia (79 percent); Mexico (74 percent); Spain (72 percent); North Korea (43 percent); Syria (31 percent); Iran (28 percent).
- 97 percent of Cubans think normalization of relations with U.S. is good for Cuba. And 58 percent think it favors Cuba more than the U.S.
- 64 percent of Cubans think new relations with the U.S. will lead to changes in their economic system, but only 37 percent think it will lead to changes in the political system.
- 96 percent of Cubans think the U.S embargo should end; 3 percent think it should continue.
- 89 percent of Cubans think Obama should visit their island, while 83 percent think Raul Castro should visit the U.S.
- 24 percent of Cubans think normalization will lead to Cuban exiles returning to the island to reclaim lost properties, while 42 percent don’t think that’s going to happen.
- 96 percent of Cubans think tourism will benefit their island by bringing jobs and wealth.
- 61 percent of Cubans say they have a cellphone.
- 16 percent say they have access to Internet, and just 28 percent of those people say they access the Internet every day.
- Of the Cubans who use the Internet, 40 percent say they use social media, and 91 percent of them use Facebook, mostly to communicate with other on-island Cubans.
- 44 percent of Cubans say they are not religious, followed by 27 percent who identify as Catholic and 27 percent who identify as Santería. Still, 80 percent of Cubans say they have a positive opinion of Pope Francis.