Nearly Half of Asian Americans Recently Saw Someone Blame Asian People for Pandemic

Forty-six percent of Asian Americans who contributed responses to a nationwide survey last week said they recently witnessed incidents wherein others blamed Asian people for the global coronavirus pandemic, according to new data.

Results of an online poll, conducted by USA Today and Ipsos, collected responses from 1,195 adults across the country on Thursday and Friday. Participants included 569 Democrats, 402 Republicans and 150 independent voters from various backgrounds. The extent to which poll respondents reported having observed anti-Asian rhetoric linked to COVID-19 over the past month differed when answers were pooled based on party affiliation and race and ethnicity.

The survey found that roughly 25 percent of all respondents recently witnessed these types of incidents, which represents a 7-point decline from last spring, according to Ipsos. Results pointed to a significantly greater inclination among Democrats than Republicans to report this, as data showed that 33 percent of individuals who identified with the former party said they were aware of sentiments holding Asian people responsible for the pandemic compared with just 18 percent of individuals who identified with the latter.

While almost 50 percent of Asian American participants, 40 percent of Black participants and 34 percent of Hispanic participants reported witnessing this kind of blame recently, just 18 percent of white participants overall said the same.

Polling data also highlighted divided beliefs about the pandemic's origins, with 43 percent of respondents suggesting that they hold specific individuals or entities accountable for the ongoing virus outbreak. Three-fourths of the survey's Democratic participants said they believe the pandemic is a natural disaster, while almost two-thirds of Republican participants said they believe individuals or organizations are responsible.

Of all respondents who do not believe that COVID-19 emerged naturally, more than half cited Chinese laboratories, scientists or government personnel when articulating who and what they believe the pandemic's source to be.

Coronavirus, Racism
Nearly 50 percent of Asian Americans who participated in a recent survey said they witnessed others blaming Asian people for the COVID-19 pandemic over the past month. A man holds up a sign during a Stop Asian Hate rally at Discovery Green in downtown Houston, Texas, on March 20, 2021. MARK FELIX/AFP via Getty Images

These survey results come amid a spike in anti-Asian hate crimes across the U.S., and only days after eight people—including six women of Asian descent—were killed in Atlanta during a series of massage parlor shootings. Reports of increasing hate and violence targeting Asian Americans initially surfaced at the beginning of the pandemic one year ago, and have persisted throughout its duration.

A report published by Stop AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) Hate showed that one-third of anti-Asian incidents between March and August of 2020 involved the use of anti-Chinese language, with phrases such as "China virus" or "kung flu." Former president Donald Trump, who was widely criticized for racist and xenophobic ideologies both related to, and outside of, pandemic issues, repeatedly referred to the coronavirus as "the China virus" while he remained in office.