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Poll: US Support Grows for Obama's Push to Boost Cuba Ties

Flags of Cuba and the U.S. flutter in Havana, Cuba, Dec. 19, 2014.

American support for lifting the trade embargo on Cuba appears to be growing after President Barack Obama said he plans to restore diplomatic ties with Havana, new Reuters/Ipsos polling shows.

Forty-one percent of Americans said the United States should lift the embargo, which began more than 50 years, according to a poll conducted between Dec. 18-22, right after Obama announced he would do what he could to ease restrictions on travel and trade with the Communist-run island.

That's up from 37 percent in surveys taken between July and October. During that summer period, more Americans - 38 percent - said they were unsure whether the embargo should be lifted. The recent poll shows 34 percent are unsure.

Removing the embargo completely would require Congressional approval, something administration officials have acknowledged would be difficult to obtain. Republicans like Florida Senator Marco Rubio, a Cuban-American thought to be a potential presidential candidate in 2016, have vowed to roll back Obama's actions.

Twenty-five percent of Americans said they were opposed to the idea of lifting the embargo, unchanged from this summer. Also unchanged is a third of Americans saying they believe Cuba is a threat to U.S. national security.

Only half of Americans were familiar with Obama's announcement, the poll showed.

But 46 percent of Americans said the United States should establish normal diplomatic relations with Cuba, as Obama has proposed, up from 43 percent in surveys this summer.