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60% of Americans Approve of Diplomatic Recognition of Cuba

Image: Vintage cars in the daily life in Havana
epa04567263 A vintage Oldsmobile car (L) from the 1950's is followed by another US-made classic car as it carries tourists on a tour through Havana, Cuba, 18 January 2015. Cuba will not give up communism, President Raul Castro vowed in a parliament address in December 2014 as he thanked US President Barack Obama for his decision to re-establish relations between their nations, noting however that the US economic embargo continues to be a major issue. Cuba was ready for constructive, equal negotiations with the United States as the neighbours work toward normalized relations, but would not give up on its principles, Castro was quoted as saying. EPA/ERNESTO MASTRASCUSAERNESTO MASTRASCUSA / EPA

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Six in 10 Americans say they approve of the nation’s recent move to provide diplomatic recognition of Cuba by the United States, according to a new NBC News/ Wall Street Journal poll.

In the new survey, 60 percent approve of the decision, 30 percent disapprove and 10 percent say they aren’t sure.

The results mark a dramatic change in public opinion on normalized relations with Cuba over the past 40 years. When NBC News and the Associated Press asked about the possibility of diplomatic recognition of Cuba in August 1978, 54 percent said they would disapprove of such a move, while only 31 percent said they would approve.

The poll comes after the Obama administration last month announced plans to restore diplomatic and economic ties with Cuba, including the relaxation of travel and banking restrictions. The White House also aims to open an American embassy in Havana.

Approval of the change in policy varies by age and party affiliation.

Democrats are far more likely to give a thumbs up to the decision than Republicans. Seventy-seven percent of Democrats approve of the move, while just 17 percent disagree; that’s compared to just 41 percent of Republicans who support diplomatic recognition of Cuba, versus 48 percent who disapprove. Independents mirror the overall split, with 61 percent approving and 30 percent disapproving.

Two-thirds of younger Americans (aged 18-34) say they approve of the decision, while just over half of seniors – 53 percent – say the same.

And African-Americans and Hispanics are more likely than whites to approve of the diplomatic change. Sixty-five percent of both groups say they back the decision, while 58 percent of whites do.

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