POLL: Most Americans Now Believe COVID-19 Leaked From Lab But Still Sharply Divided By Party, Class

(Photo by Hector RETAMAL / AFP) (Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent
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A majority of Americans now believe the COVID-19 pandemic originated in a Chinese lab, but they’re split sharply along partisan and educational lines regarding the specifics, according to a new poll.

58% of Americans believe COVID-19 started in a Chinese lab, according to a poll taken during the month of May by YouGov. That’s up from just 49% when YouGov first asked the question in May 2020.

Only 43% of Democrats believe in the lab-leak theory, compared to 77% of Republicans. Independents lean more toward the GOP view, with 65% now believing the virus came from a lab. (RELATED: Here Are The Headlines That Got It Dead Wrong On The Possibility Of A Man-Made Virus Leaked From A Lab)

Just 24% of Americans believe it was released from a lab on purpose, while 30% believe it was released by accident. Only 13% say the virus developed completely naturally in the wild, and one-third of respondents said they did not know the answer. (RELATED: REPORT: US Has ‘Unexamined Intelligence’ That Might Connect COVID-19 To Wuhan Lab)

Highly-educated Americans were the most likely to believe in a natural origin, with 25% of post-graduate degree holders citing that as their believed theory. Post-graduate-level educated individuals were also the most confident in their answers, as only 27% answered they weren’t sure where the virus came from. Americans who only completed high school or some college were most likely to answer that they weren’t sure where the pandemic started, but those that did have an opinion most commonly believed that the coronavirus was leaked from a lab on purpose.