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Inside the Beltway: 44% of Americans say coronavirus is 'man-made'

Inside the Beltway: 44% of Americans say coronavirus is
'man-made' 1

Concern about the origins of COVID-19 continue to grip Americans. Fresh out of lockdown, many now wonder about the heritage of the mysterious virus.

“Is it natural or man-made? Was it released, or did it escape? Was it deliberate or an accident? These are some of the questions the world is grappling with regarding the COVID-19 virus,” asks Raghavan Mayur, an analyst for Tippinsights, a pollster that took on the question and emerged with some disconcerting results.

It found that 44% of U.S. adults believe coronavirus was created by humans.

“And half of them say it was intentionally released,” Mr. Mayur wrote.

“Several unanswered questions surround the COVID-19 virus. While some have implications related to treatment and prevention, others may have a far-reaching impact on the global order,” he said.

And the numbers: 44% believe the virus was developed in a lab, 22% think it came from animals. Another 11% think it’s a naturally occurring virus while 16% remain unsure about the issue and 8% think the virus emerged as a result of human living habits.

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“Of the 44% who believe the virus is man made, 54% believe it was intentionally released from the lab,” Mr. Mayur said, noting that another 32% think it was accidentally released while 14% were not sure about how the virus got outside the lab.

“In the U.S., from its early days, the virus has been a partisan issue. The pandemic has not just disrupted our routines; it’s divided our country. Along party lines, of the Democrats: 32% believe it was developed in a lab,” the analyst noted.

“Meanwhile, there is a stronger response from the Republicans. Regarding the origin of the virus, 63% believe it was developed in a lab,” he said.

The source is a TIPP Insights poll of 1,305 U.S. adults conducted May 26-28.

THE WASHINGTON POST WALKS IT BACK

Aidan McLaughlin, editor of the press watchdog Mediaite, points out that The Washington Post has quietly walked back a 15-month-old story which was critical of an exchange between Sen. Tom Cotton, Arkansas Republicans, and Fox News host Maria Bartiromo.

The pair discussed the possible origins of the coronavirus on Feb. 16, 2020.

“We need to at least ask the question to see what the evidence says. And China right now is not giving any evidence on that question at all,” Mr. Cotton said at the time.

Mr. McLaughlin said in his analysis that “despite those measured comments, the Washington Post accused Cotton of pushing a ‘conspiracy theory’ that has been ‘debunked’.”

“At some point over Memorial Day weekend, the Washington Post corrected its 15 month-old story and changed the headline. The correction acknowledged that at the time of Cotton’s comment — and to this day — we do not know the origin of COVID-19, and so deeming a potential theory as ‘debunked’ is not accurate,” Mr. McLaughlin said.

“The Post correction is the latest in a series of reversals by news outlets on the Wuhan lab leak theory. PolitiFact retracted a fact-check that deemed the theory ‘debunked’ after it was pushed by a guest on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show. In March, The New York Times corrected a report that described the theory, which was being advanced by the former CDC director, as ‘debunked.’ And last week, Facebook lifted its ban on posts saying that COVID was manufactured in a lab,” the analyst concluded.

24 HOURS WITH THE BORDER PATROL

The U.S. Border Patrol continues to stand fast on the southern U.S. border. According to official reports filed on Tuesday alone, officers disrupted six human smuggling attempts near the Rio Grande in Havana, Texas; investigated five “human smuggling stash houses” in the Rio Grande Valley; and arrested 160 undocumented individuals hidden inside two tractor trailers near Laredo, Texas.

Agents also thwarted three smuggling attempts of methamphetamine and cocaine worth $3.5 million. The drugs were hidden in shipments of fresh cabbage and mangoes aboard tractor-trailer trucks at the Pharr International Bridge cargo facility in Pharr, Texas.

Agents also arrested a U.S. citizen attempting to smuggle 63.8 pounds of methamphetamine worth $175,450 through an immigration checkpoint in Salton City, California. They rescued a lost undocumented migrant in the Jacumba Wilderness region near Ocotillo, California. and transported this person to a hospital. Agents also apprehended a convicted felon who illegally entered the U.S. near Yuma, Arizona.

Follow the agents at CBP.gov, under the “newsroom” heading.

THE POWER OF ‘TRUMP-LIKE POLICIES’

Former President Donald Trump still has a grip on the hearts and minds of U.S. voters.

Ever vigilant pollster Scott Rasmussen has revealed that 31% of those voters seek a presidential candidate “promoting Trump-like policies” while 21% favor progressive policies, 21% side with a traditional Democratic approach and 17% sided with traditional Republican policy.

“The response from many on the political left was to mock the idea that former President Trump had any policies. This attitude, shared by many, may be the biggest long-term threat to the Democratic party. It’s always a mistake to underestimate your opponents. The reality is that the desire for Trump-like policies existed long before Donald Trump gave voice to them,” Mr. Rasmussen says in a new essay.

“The point is that there really are Trump-like policies. You don’t have to agree with them to recognize that many have strong support among American voters. If Democrats don’t recognize this reality and find appropriate ways to address the underlying concerns, they will soon turn control of the government over to the GOP,” Mr. Rasmussen concludes in his essay, first published by the Deseret News.

POLL DU JOUR

• 31% of U.S. voters have no confidence at all in the news media; 55% of Republicans, 27% of independents and 10% of Democrats agree.

• 22% have a little confidence in the media; 23% of Republicans, 18% of independents and 24% of Democrats agree.

• 31% overall have some confidence in the media; 15% of Republicans, 37% of independents and 44% of Democrats agree.

• 16% have a great deal of confidence in the media; 8% of Republicans, 18% of independents and 22% of Democrats agree.

SOURCE: A HILL/HARRISX POLL OF 1,899 REGISTERED U.S. VOTERS CONDUCTED MAY 21-23 AND RELEASED SUNDAY.

• Helpful information to [email protected]

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