Who believes that the NSA spied on Germans? Apparently, not Germans

The NSA is back in the news, as information surfaced that the agency has monitored German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone calls since 2002 (along with numerous other European officials).

For some reason, the public was surprised by this revelation, despite the peek Edward Snowden offered at the vast stores of NSA surveillance information and the fact that documented NSA spying has been going on since the Cold War. So, we at Survata were curious if trust in the U.S. Government varies by European and American respondents when it came to NSA spying allegations.

We used our consumer survey tool to ask 2,427 respondents across the U.S. and five European countries if they believe that the U.S. Government gathered information on European officials (even though the NSA has not denied the allegations). After excluding respondents who weren’t familiar with the story, we found that only 51% of European respondents believe the NSA spied on European officials, while 23% do not, and 26% are not sure. The results showed that U.S. respondents are significantly more likely to believe the NSA allegations:

Disbelief in Deutschland

Our results showed that American respondents, at 62%, are the most likely to believe that the NSA spied on European officials. Interestingly, Germany, the country currently at the epicenter of the scandal, is the least likely to believe the allegations are true (45%). See the full breakdown by country below:

E.U. outrage?

Unsurprisingly, we found that the U.S. is the least likely to be upset over the NSA spying scandal, as only 13% responded that they would be “extremely upset” if the allegations were true. France is the country most likely to be “extremely upset” over the NSA surveillance at 31%, followed closely by Italy.

Our take

We were surprised by the number of people who do not believe that the NSA gathered intelligence on European officials. While the degree to which the agency spied is still largely unknown, the charge itself has gone largely uncontested by the U.S. Government. And since there are rumors that the NSA spied on the Pope, we don’t think anyone can be considered out of bounds.

Does your research question need international reach? Try Survata today.

Footnotes for our fellow data geeks

  1. We interviewed 2,427 online respondents from October 29 to November 1, 2013
  2. You can download the underlying data here.
  3. You can analyze the underlying data in Statwing.

Bay Area traffic flops in 14,000 respondent survey on public transit satisfaction

Close proximity to other humans and occasional delays are annoyances presented by any major city’s public transportation system, but San Francisco’s BART and Muni can seem especially exasperating. Considering the recent shutdown in service, we at Survata were interested in whether Bay Area residents are satisfied with their public transportation system, and how that compares with other major metro areas across the country.

So, we surveyed 13,867 people residing in some of the most populous cities in the country using our consumer survey service. We asked them “How satisfied are you with your city’s public transportation system?”

Seattle’s best

We found that respondents from Seattle where the most satisfied with their city’s public transportation, as 58% responded that they were either “extremely satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied.” Houston was the least satisfied metro area surveyed, with only 25% of respondents answering that they were satisfied with the city’s public transportation. See the full breakdown by metro area below:

Making the commute

We also asked respondents how frequently they use public transportation, and as expected, found that the results differed widely by city. 29% of people in the New York City metro area use public transportation every day, compared to just 8% of those in Los Angeles and 5% of those in Dallas.

Regular riders respond

We were curious if satisfaction would differ among frequent public transportation riders. The results showed that those using public transportation at least a few times per week were 56% more likely to be satisfied with their city’s public transportation system  than those using public transportation less often. Among frequent riders, we found that those in the San Francisco Bay Area were the least satisfied, as only 12% of respondents answered they were “extremely satisfied” with their system.

Our take

One obvious caveat is our survey coincided with the BART strike in the Bay Area, and might have reached Bay Area public transportation riders at their most frustrated. However, we figure that if public opinion of a transportation system fluctuates so significantly, it probably doesn’t bode well for its overall user satisfaction. Plus, some of us in the office have seen live chickens on Muni so we weren’t exactly blindsided by criticism of San Francisco’s public transportation.

Want to gauge consumer satisfaction for your own product? Try Survata today.

Footnotes for our fellow data geeks

  1. We interviewed 13,867 online respondents from October 14 to October 22, 2013
  2. You can download the underlying data here.
  3. You can analyze the underlying data in Statwing.

Largest existing survey shows 19% support a name change for the Washington Redskins

The Washington Redskins have recently garnered criticism, most notably by sportscaster Bob Costas and President Obama, for a team name many consider to be racially offensive towards Native Americans. But a name change is certainly not on the horizon for the storied NFL program, according to the team’s owner Daniel Snyder.

Given the high-profile debate, we at Survata were curious to see how public opinion stacked up. We used our consumer survey service to ask 5,913 Americans if they thought the Washington Redskins should change their team name.

We found that 30% of respondents thought the Redskins should not change their team name, while 19% thought a new name is in order. 51% responded “I have no opinion.”

What’s in a name?

We found that opinion differed significantly by gender. 39% of male respondents believed the name should remain unchanged, compared to just 25% of female respondents.

Pigskin prejudice?

Unsurprisingly, we found that NFL fans were more than twice as likely as non-NFL fans to have an opinion on the matter. 50% of NFL fans answered that the Redskins should keep their name, compared to 23% of those not interested in NFL football.

The logo effect

We were curious to see if inclusion of the Redskins logo would affect how respondents answered. Using the original survey as a control, we found that non-NFL fans were 15% less likely to answer “I have no opinion” when faced with the team logo in an otherwise identical survey. The results were scattered, however, as non-NFL fans were more likely both to support and oppose a name change when presented with the team’s logo.

Our take

The effect of displaying the Redskins logo for survey respondents was intriguing. Whether respondents found the logo to be offensive or noble, this was a powerful demonstration of how consumer opinion can be influenced by a visual aid.

Want to test how the public perceives your brand? Try Survata today.

Footnotes for our fellow data geeks

  1. We interviewed 5,913 online respondents from October 10 to October 14, 2013
  2. You can download the underlying data here.
  3. You can analyze the underlying data in Statwing.

The great peanut butter debate: 57% of people prefer creamy over crunchy

Deep dish versus thin crust, white versus wheat, and skim versus two percent are all heated food debates. But creamy versus crunchy peanut butter is arguably the most contentious.

Pizza preference has a clear geographic association, but the makeup of teams creamy and crunchy is largely unknown. So, we at Survata wanted to get a handle on the demographics of peanut butter preferences.

To find out, we used our consumer survey tool to ask 4,410 respondents whether they preferred creamy or crunchy peanut butter. After screening out those who don’t eat peanut butter, we found that creamy was the more popular choice by a score of 57% to 43%.

Crunchier with age

Could your peanut butter preference betray your age? Our results suggest that it might, since respondents age 45 and over overwhelmingly chose crunchy over creamy. This trend was reversed in the younger age categories, with 59% of respondents under 45 preferring creamy.


Perhaps crunchy peanut butter possesses some kind of Freudian symbolism, because we found that preference differed slightly by gender. 48% of men preferred crunchy peanut butter, compared to 41% of women. This means men were 17% more likely than women to go for crunchy.

Our take

Frankly, we were surprised to find significant demographic correlations in peanut butter preference. But, such a survey illustrates the fact that even the most unsuspecting topics can be an opportunity to gain consumer insights.

Want to learn demographic preferences about your product? Try Survata today.

Footnotes for our fellow data geeks

  1. We interviewed 4,410 online respondents from October 7 to October 9, 2013
  2. You can download the underlying data here.
  3. You can analyze the underlying data in Statwing.

Are Americans proud to be from their state? California and Oregon get a ‘Yes,’ Arizona and Indiana not so much

While U.S. citizens undoubtedly have cause to wave their state flag, each of the 50 states also has its share of less than brag-worthy traits.

It’s been shown that Americans have strong opinions about states beside their own, but we at Survata were curious how residents of a state feel about home sweet home. We used our consumer survey service to ask 7,340 respondents if they were proud to be from the state in which they reside.

The results showed that 34% of respondents were “extremely proud” to be from the state in which they currently live, while 9% were “not at all proud.”

States of the Union

We found that Oregon, California, and Washington were among the proudest states, each with over 42% of respondents saying they were “extremely proud” to live there. Arizona, Indiana, and North Carolina were the least proud, as each state had less than 21% of respondents answer they were “extremely proud.”

Since Texas is known for its larger than life persona, we predicted that the former sovereign nation would produce extraordinary results in terms of state pride. However, Texas was towards the middle of the pack for both proud and not proud residents, recording the 20th highest total for rates of “extremely proud” residents (36%) and 19th highest for those who were “not at all proud” (12%).

We also found gender differences among Texas respondents, as women were over twice as likely as men to say they are “not at all proud” of their state.

Teen angst

Perhaps because they’re unlikely to have much say in where they live, respondents age 13-17 were the age group most likely to answer that they are “not at all proud” to be from their state. At 15%, teens were 67% more likely than respondents over age 18 not to take pride in their place of residence.

Our take

We were struck by the fact that over a third of total respondents were “extremely proud” to be from their state, and will be curious to see how these totals fluctuate with any future political and economic changes.

Want to poll the nation for answers of your own? Build a Survata survey in minutes.

Footnotes for our fellow data geeks

  1. We interviewed 7340 online respondents from September 30 to October 3, 2013
  2. You can download the underlying data here.
  3. You can analyze the underlying data in Statwing.

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.