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I&I/TIPP Poll: 3/4 Of Americans want Congress to investigate COVID-19’s origins


Americans were repeatedly told by their own government and by major media outlets in recent years that the COVID-19 virus originated naturally, that it couldn’t be a human-made virus. Now, recent reports strongly suggest, that the virus probably escaped from China’s government-run Wuhan Institute of Virology. What to do?

Given the magnitude of the recent revelations, the I&I/TIPP Poll sought to ask the public how the U.S. government should respond. The overall reaction: The government needs to dig deeply into the origin and transmission of the deadly virus and tell Americans the truth about it.

Specifically, the I&I/TIPP nationwide online poll of 1,370, which was taken from March 1-3 with a +/-2.8 percentage point margin of error, stated: “A new government report says the COVID-19 virus ‘likely arose’ from a laboratory leak. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements?”

Two statements were then given: “The report should be declassified,” and “Congress must launch an investigation into the origins of the COVID virus.”

Respondents were given five possible responses to the statements: “Agree strongly,” “agree somewhat,” “disagree somewhat,” “disagree strongly,” and “not sure.”

Overall, the response was strong and relatively uniform across all groups.

For “the report should be declassified,” 69% agreed, while 15% disagreed and 16% weren’t sure. Broken down further, 44% said they agreed “strongly,” while 25% agreed “somewhat.” Among those who disagreed, just 7% said they did so “strongly,” while 9% said only “somewhat.”

Virtually all of the more than 21 demographic groups and subgroups were above 60% in their “agree” responses, with a small handful of exceptions: Those 18-24 years of age (59%), women (58%) and those with just a high school education (59%).

Significantly, agreement was strong across all major political affiliations. Democrats (74% agree), Republicans (69% agree) and independents (65% agree) all want to see the COVID information declassified.

3/4 Of Americans Want Congress To Investigate COVID-19's Origins: I&I/TIPP Poll

The response was even stronger for the statement that “Congress must launch an investigation into the origins of the COVID virus.”

By a sizable 76% (agree) to 12% (disagree) margin, the public supported a congressional investigation of how the COVID virus came to be. Only 11% said they weren’t sure.

Just two of the many groups tracked came in below 70%, and in both cases, within the margin of error for the poll: Once again, 18-24 year olds (69% agree) and single women, also at 69%.

And, when it came to political parties, support was strong across the board.

On the final statement, Democrats (81%) and Republicans (80%) were in lock-step, while independents were still high at 69%, though weaker than the two major parties.

Looked at another way, that is by how respondents describe their own political beliefs, Americans strongly favored Congress investigating the devastating pandemic bug: Conservatives (83%), moderates (73%) and liberals (75%) all supported an investigation.

3/4 Of Americans Want Congress To Investigate COVID-19's Origins: I&I/TIPP Poll

It boils down to this: More than three-fourths of Americans want more information on how and when the virus (which official data say has killed 1.12 million people in the U.S. alone) emerged in China, and where it came from.

Given the strength of support for both actions (declassifying and investigating the COVID outbreak), it might be tough for Congress to ignore or drag its feet on this public health issue.

The issue was given new life in late February, just days before the I&I/TIPP Poll began, when FBI Director Christopher Wray said that current intelligence suggested it was “most likely” that the COVID virus originated in a “Chinese government-controlled lab.”

But Wray’s bombshell remark came shortly after a surprising report from the Energy Department. Its intelligence concluded the virus most likely arose from a laboratory leak, repeating a 2021 assessment made by the FBI that was subsequently downplayed by both the media and the Biden administration.

“The Energy Department’s conclusion is the result of new intelligence and is significant because the agency has considerable scientific expertise and oversees a network of U.S. national laboratories, some of which conduct advanced biological research,” noted the Wall Street Journal, which broke the story.

This flies in the face of repeated public government pronouncements doubting that the virus could have come from the Wuhan lab.

Early on, in April 2020, now-retired COVID czar Anthony Fauci called the theory that the virus jumped from the Wuhan Virology lab “a shiny object that will go away soon.” He later would claim that it was “molecularly impossible” for COVID to have mutated from viruses worked on in the Wuhan lab.

Similar sentiments were held by National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins, who likewise steadfastly denied that the virus could have escaped from the Wuhan lab complex.

Importantly, Fauci strongly denied to Congress that the U.S. had ever helped fund “gain of function” research by China’s Wuhan lab, a major reason why our own government might want to strongly deny any financial connection the scientific facility. But, in fact, Fauci’s denials to Congress proved to be false.

So, with skepticism over the government’s handling of the COVID pandemic apparently growing, the ball has now landed in Congress’ court.

The Senate late last week unanimously passed the COVID-19 Origin Act of 2023, calling on U.S. Director of Intelligence Avril Haines to declassify all intelligence related to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, its coronavirus research, and “related activities” prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, including information connected to “researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology who fell ill in autumn 2019.”

“For nearly three years, anyone asking whether COVID-19 originated as a lab leak outbreak was silenced and branded as a conspiracy theorist,” said Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, co-sponsor with Indiana Sen. Mike Braun of the bill, in a statement.

“Now, these prudent skeptics stand vindicated. The Biden administration must immediately declassify all intelligence reports pertaining to the origins of COVID-19 and the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The American people deserve to know the truth.”

The Republican-led House could act as early this week to pass the bill, which would then give the U.S. director of intelligence 90 days to fulfill the request. A similar bill failed in 2021 in the Democrat-controlled House.

I&I/TIPP publishes timely, unique and informative data each month on topics of public interest. TIPP’s reputation for polling excellence comes from being the most accurate pollster for the past five presidential elections.

Terry Jones is an editor of Issues & Insights. His four decades of journalism experience include serving as national issues editor, economics editor, and editorial page editor for Investor’s Business Daily.

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TIPP Takes

Geopolitics And Geoeconomics

#1. Wagner Chief Says Russian Position At Bakhmut At Risk Without Promised Ammunition – Reuters

The head of Russia’s Wagner mercenary force warned that Russia’s position around the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut was in peril unless his troops got ammunition.

3/4 Of Americans Want Congress To Investigate COVID-19's Origins: I&I/TIPP Poll
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of Russia’s Wagner Group

It is the latest sign of tension between the Kremlin and the private militia chief.

The mercenary chief regularly criticizes Russia’s defense chiefs and top generals. Last month, he accused Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and others of “treason” for withholding munitions to his men.

#2. Two Ukrainian Pilots In Arizona To Fly Military Simulators, U.S.Officials Say – Reuters

Two Ukrainian pilots are in Arizona to fly flight simulators and be evaluated by the U.S. military as Washington remains mute on whether it will send fighter jets or sophisticated drones to Kyiv.

3/4 Of Americans Want Congress To Investigate COVID-19's Origins: I&I/TIPP Poll

The Arizona “familiarization event” is a first and will facilitate dialogue between Ukrainian and U.S. personnel and provide an opportunity to observe how the U.S. Air Force operates, a U.S. defense official said, speaking anonymously. The official had no updates regarding F-16 fighter jet pledges to Ukraine.

#3. No Evidence ‘So Far’ That China Is Mulling Arms Deliveries To Russia, EU Chief Says – DPA

The European Union has seen “no evidence so far” that would suggest China was considering supplying weapons to Russia for the war in Ukraine, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.

3/4 Of Americans Want Congress To Investigate COVID-19's Origins: I&I/TIPP Poll

Regarding sanctions against China in the event of such deliveries, von der Leyen added that this was “a hypothetical question that can only be answered if it becomes reality and fact.”

Von der Leyen spoke alongside German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in eastern Germany. “We all agree that there must be no arms deliveries,” Scholz said.

#4. Three Tiananmen Vigil Organizers Convicted – A.P.

Three activists were arrested in 2021 during a crackdown on the city’s pro-democracy movement following massive protests more than three years ago.

3/4 Of Americans Want Congress To Investigate COVID-19's Origins: I&I/TIPP Poll

The three Hong Kong activists are from a now-defunct group that organized annual vigils commemorating China’s 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters and were convicted for failing to provide authorities with information on the group by a national security law.

#5. China Premier Li Keqiang Bows Out As Xi Loyalists Take Reins – A.P.

After a decade in Chinese President Xi Jinping’s shadow, Li Keqiang is taking his final bow as the country’s premier.

3/4 Of Americans Want Congress To Investigate COVID-19's Origins: I&I/TIPP Poll

The exit marks a shift away from the skilled technocrats who have helped steer the world’s second-biggest economy in favor of officials known mainly for their unquestioned loyalty to China’s most powerful leader in recent history.

After exiting the ruling Communist Party’s all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee in October — despite being below retirement age — Li’s last major task was delivering the state of the nation address to the rubber-stamp parliament.

#6. Saudi Arabia To Invest In French-Chinese Car Joint Venture – RFI

Oil giant Saudi Aramco is preparing to join carmakers Geely and Renault in a new joint venture in hybrid and internal-combustion vehicles.

3/4 Of Americans Want Congress To Investigate COVID-19's Origins: I&I/TIPP Poll

French automaker Renault said in November it was teaming up with China’s Geely to develop and produce engines, gearboxes, and other components for hybrid, petrol, and diesel vehicles.

The 50-50 partnership called “Horse” was announced as part of a sweeping overhaul at Renault as it expands its electric vehicle business.

#7. Illness Reports Mount At Girls’ Schools In Iran, Spurring ‘Terror’ Accusations – RFE/RL

Tensions continued in Iran as the number of girls’ schools affected by a wave of illnesses increased. Government critics questioned official actions following protests by the parents of affected students.

3/4 Of Americans Want Congress To Investigate COVID-19's Origins: I&I/TIPP Poll

Female students reportedly fell ill in at least 33 cities across 17 Iranian provinces on March 4, as speculation swirled over what some allege are months of noxious gas attacks that have coincided with a crackdown on unprecedented protests over the death in custody of a young woman in September.

#8. Least Developed Countries Summit Kicks Off In Doha – RFI

The 5th Least Developed Countries summit started in Qatar’s capital with a top UN official warning that “urgent” measures are needed to help 52 countries facing debt repayment problems.

3/4 Of Americans Want Congress To Investigate COVID-19's Origins: I&I/TIPP Poll
The world’s least developed countries, Wikimedia Commons

The UN agency estimates that “52 countries are either in debt distress or one step away from debt distress and potential default,” said Achim Steiner, head of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

Steiner did not name the countries involved, but the UNDP last week released a report which called for a 30 percent write-off of external debt for 52 countries at 2021 values.

#9. Qatar’s Emir Criticizes Aid Delay To Syria Earthquake Victims – Al Jazeera

Qatar’s Sheikh Tamim said it was wrong to abuse humanitarian aid in a country devastated by civil war for political purposes.

3/4 Of Americans Want Congress To Investigate COVID-19's Origins: I&I/TIPP Poll

Qatar was among several regional states that backed rebels in Syria’s civil war, which has been going on since 2011 and has previously spoken out against efforts by some countries to normalize ties with Damascus.

Speaking at the UN Least Developed Countries conference opening in Qatar’s capital Doha, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani stressed the need to help Syrians “without hesitation” and support Turkey’s efforts to recover from the devastating earthquake.

#10. Japan Weighs Using Drones To Chase Away Foreign Aircraft – Nikkei Asia

Japan’s Self-Defense Forces are considering sending drones instead of manned jets to intercept foreign aircraft approaching its sovereign airspace.

3/4 Of Americans Want Congress To Investigate COVID-19's Origins: I&I/TIPP Poll

The SDF will first test drones in drills to chase warships as soon as this year, seeking to gauge performance and functionality.

Scrambling fighter jets has become costly for Japan as the Chinese military steps up activity in the East China Sea.

#11. North Korea Says High-Thrust Rocket Engine Offers ‘Sure Guarantee’ For Satellite Launch – Yonhap

The vice director of the National Aerospace Development Administration made the remarks amid speculation the North is likely to put a military spy satellite into orbit by April.

3/4 Of Americans Want Congress To Investigate COVID-19's Origins: I&I/TIPP Poll

He said the North had applied its space science technology to various areas, including agriculture, meteorological observation communication, and natural resources exploration.

In December last year, North Korea said it had tested a high-thrust solid-fuel rocket engine for a “new-type strategic weapon system,” a move is seen as developing a solid-propellant intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of reaching the U.S. mainland.

#12. South Korea To Announce Fixes To Wartime Labor Rift With Japan On March 6 – Kyodo News

The South Korean government plans to formally announce measures to settle a wartime labor compensation dispute with Japan, a move that could help bilateral relations to emerge from the doldrums.

3/4 Of Americans Want Congress To Investigate COVID-19's Origins: I&I/TIPP Poll

Seoul has been considering compensating former Korean laborers through a government-backed South Korean foundation instead of requiring Japanese companies to pay damages as South Korean court rulings ordered.

South Korea’s Supreme Court in 2018 ordered steelmaker Nippon Steel Corp. and machinery manufacturer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. to compensate Korean plaintiffs for forced labor during World War II.

#13. EU Envoy Says Taliban Won’t Commit To Reopening Schools To Girls – DPA

The Taliban authorities have not pledged to reopen schools and universities for Afghan girls and women in the new school year, a senior EU official said in Kabul.

3/4 Of Americans Want Congress To Investigate COVID-19's Origins: I&I/TIPP Poll

The EU’s special envoy for Afghanistan, Tomas Niklasson, said he heard no “firm commitment” from Taliban ministers during his meetings. “Opening the schools and universities to provide quality education to Afghan boys and girls, women and men is not optional,” Niklasson said

Since the hard-line Islamist group returned to power in August 2021, Afghanistan has become the only country in the world to deny women education.

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Republished with permission from TIPP Insights

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