Majority of Cubans and Americans support renewed diplomatic relations

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     A U.S. and Cuban flag hang from the same balcony in Old Havana, Cuba, Friday, Dec. 19, 2014. After the surprise announcement on Wednesday of the restoration of diplomatic ties between Cuba and the U.S., many Cubans expressed hope that it will mean greater access to jobs and the comforts taken for granted elsewhere, and lift their struggling economy. However others feared a cultural onslaught, or that crime and drugs, both rare in Cuba, will become common along with visitors from the United States. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

    A U.S. and Cuban flag hang from the same balcony in Old Havana, Cuba, Friday, Dec. 19, 2014. After the surprise announcement on Wednesday of the restoration of diplomatic ties between Cuba and the U.S., many Cubans expressed hope that it will mean greater access to jobs and the comforts taken for granted elsewhere, and lift their struggling economy. However others feared a cultural onslaught, or that crime and drugs, both rare in Cuba, will become common along with visitors from the United States. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

    President Barack Obama startled a lot of people by announcing substantial moves to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba. We know from past research that: A. This has the support of the American people; B. We know from our research that views of Cuba are very different between Republicans and Democrats.

    President Barack Obama startled a lot of people by announcing substantial moves to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba.

    We check in with Frank Newport, editor in chief of the Gallup Poll to gauge Americans’ opinions of the move. We know from past research that: A. This has the support of the American people B. We know from our research that views of Cuba are very different between Republicans and Democrats.

    With all that is going on in the news these days, there’s a lot to choose from when we ask Americans to name to most important problem facing the country. One big change this month is issues relating to race, which have zoomed up to be the third-most frequently mentioned problem — after dysfunctional government and the economy. This is the highesst race has gotten on the minds of Americans in this context since the Rodney King verdict in 1992.

    Gallup’s annual update includes fascinating new data in on Americans’ views of the honesty and ethics of police. White Americans’ views didn’t change, but non-whites’ ratings of police dropped 22 points from last year, pushing down the overall number to as low as we have seen it in years.

    Police still rate much higher for perceived honesty and ethics than other professions. Car salesmen and members of Congress are battling it out for the very lowest ratings. This year there is good news for car salesmen: They come in one point higher than members of Congress, who are dead last.

    Speaking of members of Congress — now that the year is coming to an end, our final yearly average for Congress approval is 15 percent, one point higher than the all-time low of 14 percent recorded in 2013.

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