A new poll has found that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) hold political leaders accountable for the rise in anti-AAPI hate crimes.
The poll, conducted by the National AAPI Power Fund, found that 60 percent of Asian American and Pacific Islander voters in eight battleground states and California believe that political leaders’ rhetoric on China is responsible for the rise in AAPI hate.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, hate crimes against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community increased by 339 percent, according to a 2022 study by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism. Members of the community faced racist rhetoric, verbal abuse, harassment and physical violence. Today, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders represent nearly 5.5 percent of the country’s population.
“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,” said EunSook Lee of the Power Fund. “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.”
The survey found that 80 percent of Asian American and Pacific Islander voters believe violence toward the community is on the rise, and a majority think leaders should cut back on their anti-China rhetoric without ostracizing the nation.
More than 50 percent said they do not like messaging that is either too antagonistic or too accommodating toward China.
That doesn’t mean respondents don’t want politicians to speak about China at all, though; 61 percent of voters said the U.S. needs to work with China for both global stability and a stronger U.S. economy.
“It’s important that candidates and organizations know that anti-China rhetoric doesn’t foster any short-term or long-term gains,” said Joshua Ulibarri, partner at Lake Research Partners, an organization that conducted focus groups on Asian American and Pacific Islander members and others in August.
“The data is clear. Voters are desperate to hear solutions and not place blame. Candidates can and have won without pointing fingers at China or skirting responsibility for inflation and job creation.”
The poll took place Sept. 18-24 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.
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