A recent poll indicated that a significant portion of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) voters in key states attributed the rise in anti-AAPI hate crimes to political leaders’ rhetoric on China.
AAPI voters: The survey, conducted by the National AAPI Power Fund from Sept. 18 to 24, reveals that 60% of AAPI voters connect the increase in hate crimes to political discussions about China.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the AAPI community saw a 339% surge in hate crimes, with Stop AAPI Hate’s reporting center documenting 10,905 reported hate incidents from March 20, 2020, to December 31, 2021 alone.
Government’s rhetoric: Alternative names used by the media and government officials to refer to COVID-19, including “Chinese virus” and “kung flu,” contributed to the negative perceptions of Asian individuals and communities. This resulted in stereotypes, racism and xenophobia directed towards Chinese people or those perceived as Chinese.
The poll suggests that AAPI voters are crucial to a diverse democratic path and are fatigued by scapegoating and political extremism.
“Over the last four years, there has been increasingly aggressive rhetoric about the Chinese government, and these messages have led to increasing violence and racist attacks against Asian Americans in the United States,” EunSook Lee of the Power Fund told The Hill. “Our research shows that voters across the board, including AAPI voters, see through the scapegoating. AAPI voters are critical to winning a multi-racial path to democracy; they are tired of being scapegoated and are weary of Republican political extremism.”
Shifting away from anti-China rhetoric: The findings underscore AAPI voters’ desire for a shift away from aggressive anti-China rhetoric, with 80% of respondents believing violence against their community is increasing.
Over half of the respondents also expressed a dislike for messages that are either overly confrontational or overly conciliatory towards China. However, this does not imply that respondents want politicians to avoid addressing China entirely, as 61% of voters believe it is essential for the U.S. to collaborate with China to enhance both global stability and the strength of the U.S. economy.
Voters’ preference: While advocating for diplomatic collaboration with China, voters expressed a preference for solutions over blame in political discourse, according to the poll results.