What will happen to Walter White? We collected predictions from 700 ‘Breaking Bad’ fans

As “Breaking Bad” careens violently toward its series finale, many plot points are still up in the air: Will Walt escape the law? Will he reclaim his money from the Aryan Brotherhood? Does baby Holly stand any chance at avoiding severe psychological trauma?

As an office full of “Breaking Bad” fans, we at Survata were curious if viewers wanted a sympathetic ending for Walt despite his moral corrosion. We surveyed 721 respondents (who stated they planned to watch the series finale on Sunday), asking which ending they prefer for Walt, and which ending they predict will occur.

A matter of life and meth

We found that many fans hope the finale will be an “A1 day” for Walt. 24% of respondents said they prefer that the series concludes with Walt reclaiming his money and evading police. Significantly fewer viewers want Walt brought to justice, as only 8% of respondents said they prefer the show ends with his arrest.

The final showdown

Female “Breaking Bad” viewers may have reached their quota for violent confrontations, as they were over 40% more likely to prefer a natural death for Walt. 17% of female respondents said they prefer Walt dies of cancer, compared to 12% of men. Conversely, 21% of men hope that Walt is killed, while 16% of women hope for such an outcome.

Heisenberg uncertainty

Looking at what viewers predict will happen (instead of what they prefer to happen), we found no standout prediction for Walt’s ultimate fate. 20% of respondents predicted that Walt would survive, while a nearly equal number predicted that Walt would die of cancer or be killed by Jesse Pinkman. The least selected prediction (at 3%) was Walt being killed by Todd, Jack, or another member of the Aryan Brotherhood.

Coming to a close

Although we can only speculate about how the final minutes of “Breaking Bad” will play out, we can say one thing for certain: Regardless of what happens, many viewers are bound to be surprised by the finale.

Want to run your own nationwide survey on pop culture? Build a Survata survey in minutes.

Footnotes for our fellow data geeks

  1. We interviewed 721 online respondents from September 23 to September 25, 2013
  2. You can download the underlying data here.
  3. You can analyze the underlying data in Statwing.

Secondhand vapor? Americans are split on public e-cigarette use

The e-cigarette industry is expected to clear $1 billion in 2013, and the success of the smokeless devices is reigniting the public smoking debate.

Although marketed as a healthier alternative to traditional tobacco products, e-cigarettes lack an FDA ruling that backs the claim. And while the secondhand vapor produced by the devices hasn’t been shown to be harmful, many believe welcoming e-cigarette use in public places would erode the decades of progress made in banning public smoking.

We at Survata were curious to gauge public opinion on e-cigarettes, and whether the issue bears any relevance to the use of traditional tobacco products. So, we surveyed 4,880 Americans using our consumer survey tool, and asked if they approve of e-cigarette use in public places. We found that 29% approve, a nearly equal amount disapprove, and 41% are neutral on the matter:

E-cigs vs. Old cigs

Although the e-cigarette industry is reportedly pushing to separate itself from tobacco products, the data suggests a correlation between the two. Respondents who currently smoke cigarettes or other traditional tobacco products are nearly three times as likely as non-smokers to approve of public e-cigarette use. In addition, smokers are 43% less likely to have a neutral point of view. See the full breakdown below:

Minimal change by age range

The issue presents an interesting contrast of a modern product with antiquated legislation; while e-cigarettes appeal more to younger consumers, the concept of legally protected public cigarette smoking is thoroughly outdated by comparison. Interestingly, we found the results to be remarkably consistent among age groups. Although respondents age 35 to 64 are slightly more likely to approve public e-cigarette use, approval varies by a few percentage points at most between age groups.

Our take

The FDA has yet to rule on the safety of e-cigarettes, and we expect public opinion to fluctuate significantly with such information. The FDA ruling is expected to have a big impact on the industry, as one of the major advantages e-cigarettes have over traditional cigarettes is that users can smoke them in many places where traditional cigarettes aren’t allowed. Until then, Americans appear to be split on puffing in public.

Curious how the public perceives your product? Try Survata today.

Footnotes for our fellow data geeks

  1. We interviewed 4,880 online respondents from November 6 to November 8, 2013
  2. You can download the underlying data here.
  3. You can analyze the underlying data in Statwing.

Science or sacrilege? Atheists and agnostics are 76% more likely than Christians to believe in the existence of extraterrestrial life.

Ever since Copernicus formulated a heliocentric model of the universe in the 16th century, scientific discovery has posed uncomfortable questions for the religious faithful. The modern age is no different, as NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity  and other evidence suggest the possibility that Earthlings are not alone in the universe — which many find to be at odds with fundamental theological teachings.

At Survata, we were curious how religious affiliation relates to a belief in extraterrestrial life. To test this, we used our survey system to poll 5,886 Americans. We asked the respondents to state a religious affiliation and then asked “Do you believe in the existence of extraterrestrial life?”

Of the 5,886 Americans polled, 37% affirmed a belief in the existence of extraterrestrial life, 21% denied such a belief, and 42% were uncertain, responding “I’m not sure.”

Reconciling Religion

Belief in extraterrestrial life varies dramatically by religious affiliation (or lack thereof). Of those who identify as atheist or agnostic, 55% affirm a belief in extraterrestrial life compared to only 32% of Christians, meaning atheists and agnostics are 76% more likely than Christians to believe in the existence of life beyond our planet.

Denomination Classification

Furthermore, the results suggest that not all Christians think alike when it comes to extraterrestrial life. Among Christian denominations, Baptists (29%) and those selecting “Other” (27%) were found to be the least likely to affirm the existence of life outside our planet.

The Truth is Out There

While no earthly poll can provide insight into the contents of our vast universe, our results suggest that the prospect of extraterrestrial life resonates more among nonreligious groups.  NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity will have to provide some more concrete evidence to convince many Americans.

Got a pressing question? Create a Survata survey in minutes.

Footnotes for our fellow data geeks

  1. We interviewed 5,886 online respondents from September 16 to September 18, 2013
  2. You can download the underlying data here.
  3. You can analyze the underlying data in Statwing.

Will Americans trust Al Jazeera? It depends where viewers live, and how they browse the web.

Heavily opinionated content, a not-so-subtle political bent, and occasional yelling are common on American news programs. The latest news service to launch, Al Jazeera America, promises not to follow suit. Its acting CEO told The New York Times that “viewers will see a news channel unlike the others, as our programming proves Al Jazeera America will air fact-based, unbiased and in-depth news.”

Many media personalities are skeptical of Al Jazeera America’s journalistic merit. Critics pointed out the news provider is funded primarily by the Qatari government and is the sister network of Al Jazeera, whose coverage of the United States has been a lightning rod for controversy. Some even went so far as to suggest that Al Jazeera America’s U.S. bureaus may activate Muslim sleeper cells.

We at Survata were curious what Americans thought of Al Jazeera’s journalistic objectivity. After screening out those who had never heard of Al Jazeera, we asked 8,546 people: “Do you perceive Al Jazeera America as an objective news source?” We found that only 18% of Americans viewed it as an objective new sources, while 31% did not view it as an objective news source. Over half of respondents did not have an opinion.

Different States of Mind

Respondents from Washington, D.C. were by far the most likely to perceive Al Jazeera America as objective (40%), while those from South Carolina were the least likely (5%). Groups by region, respondents from New England were the most likely to perceive Al Jazeera America as objective (22%), and respondents from the Plains region were the least likely (13%). Below is a map showing a breakdown by each state:

Seeing Red (and Blue)

As with many issues, “red states” and “blue states” viewed Al Jazeera America quite differently. In red states (those which voted for Romney in the 2012 election), 14% of respondents perceived Al Jazeera America as an objective news source, while in blue states (those which voted for Obama in the 2012 election), 20% of respondents perceived it as such.

Internet Exploring

Our results also showed that opinion varied significantly across the digital as well as the geopolitical landscape. We found that respondents using Internet Explorer as a desktop browser were a whopping 43% less likely to perceive Al Jazeera America as an objective news source than those using Chrome. See the full breakdown by desktop browser below:

Will you watch?

Just launched in August 2013, Al Jazeera America already reaches about 48mm of America’s 100mm television households, and is among the most significant investments in television journalism history. After seeing this data, we bet the network is hoping more Americans start to think like Chrome users in Washington, D.C.

Want to run a quick nationwide public opinion poll? Build a Survata survey in minutes.

Footnotes for our fellow data geeks

  1. We interviewed 8,546 online respondents from September 4 to September 10, 2013
  2. You can download the underlying data here.
  3. You can analyze the underlying data in Statwing.

Yahoo showed us 30 days of logos. Here’s the one consumers liked best.

With a new CEO last summer and a $1b acquisition this spring, Yahoo has been changing significantly. Next up is its iconic logo: Tomorrow Yahoo will unveil a new logo to signify the new era. To draw attention to the change, Yahoo has been displaying a different logo every day for the last month.

We were curious about which logo consumers preferred as the best fit for the Internet giant, so we used the Survata logo testing tool to find out. We asked 12,725 respondents to pick their favorite of five logo variants (randomly selected from the 28 variants released prior to publication).

And the winner is…

Consumers displayed strong  and consistent opinions about the variants.  The “selection percentage” ranged from 47% for Day 10 (the most preferred) to 6% for Day 21 (the least preferred).  Day 10 was rated highly across all age, gender, and geographic groups.

Our large sample size enabled a detailed look at relative preferences for each pair of logos.  The most preferred variant, Day 10, is undefeated, having been selected in the majority of head-to-head faceoffs against every other variant.


The more logos change, the more they stay the same?

To understand why consumers preferred certain variants, we deconstructed the Yahoo logo into its major design attributes.

We then classified each variant according to these six attributes.  For five of six attributes, consumers preferred the variants with the attribute of the current Yahoo logo.

Our findings from Yahoo’s “30 days of change” campaign suggest it should stick to something familiar.  So, for Yahoo’s sake, we hope the new logo announced tomorrow will remind users of its graphical heritage.

Thinking of a new logo? Don’t guess; test.

Survata has researched consumer opinion on logos for numerous clients, and you can do so for yourself using our fast and affordable logo testing site.  Check it out next time your branding needs a face lift!

And, Yahoo, if you ever get bored of Tumblr’s look, we will happily crunch the numbers on that change as well.

Footnotes for our fellow data geeks

  1. We interviewed 12,725 online respondents from the US between August 27 and September 2, 2013.
  2. You can download the underlying data here.
  3. You can analyze the underlying data on Statwing.