Los Angeles Times: Atlantic Council’s Cuba Push-Poll barely gets beyond pro-Castro talking points

In an Op-Ed in the Los Angeles Times, Robyn Wapner completely dismantles the Atlantic Council’s push-poll on Cuba, which the media continues to quote as if it were legitimate and not a carefully crafted piece of pro-Castro propaganda.

Just how do Americans see Cuba?

Nothing about U.S. relations with Cuba is simple. But a recent Atlantic Council poll examined none of the nuances.


The Washington-based think tank Atlantic Council released a poll last month that has been touted by many as marking an unprecedented shift in support for a change in U.S. policy toward Cuba. Media outlets, including the L.A. Times, jumped on the bandwagon, citing the poll as evidence that Americans are now eager for engagement. But a closer look shows that many of the most consequential results of the poll are based on push-polling tactics.

Push polling is the craft of designing survey questions to shape and influence the results. In this case, several questions in the Atlantic Council Cuba poll appear to “push” respondents toward assuming a position against current U.S. policy.


The Atlantic Council’s survey examined none of these nuances [Cuba’s lawless and terrorist acts past and present]. It barely got beyond simple talking points. For example, the question that garnered the most touted finding read:

“As you may know, since 1961 the United States has had no diplomatic relations with Cuba and restricts trade and travel with Cuba for the vast majority of American citizens and businesses. Would you favor or oppose normalizing U.S. relations with Cuba / the U.S. engaging more directly with Cuba?”

And if a respondent answered no, he or she was subjected to this follow-up:

“The United States has formal relations or at least talks and negotiates with many countries that are not friendly to us, have poor human rights records, or both, including China, Russia and Iran. Yet we continue NOT to have any relations or discussions with Cuba. Knowing this, let me ask you again, do you favor or oppose normalizing U.S. relations with Cuba / the U.S. engaging more directly with Cuba?”

Another question asked whether Cuba deserves to be a designated state sponsor of terrorism. Those who said yes were prompted with this:

“Thousands of Al Qaeda terrorists are in Sudan or Syria, and Iran has been aggressively building its nuclear program. Despite human rights abuses, Cuba poses none of the active dangers to the United States and our security that these other countries possess. Thinking again, does Cuba pose the same threat as Sudan, Syria and Iran, and thus belong on the state-sponsored terrorism list?”

Ask a question enough different ways with enough leading statements and pollsters are bound to get the answer they want.

Further, while the poll asked respondents about ways U.S. policy toward Cuba could be changed, none of the options provided the opportunity to demonstrate support for components of current U.S. policy.

Read the entire take down of this propagandist poll HERE.