Tech Trust Index shows consumers trust Google and Amazon but not Sprint and AOL

It’s no secret that tech companies amass vast stores of user information, from tax records to snapshots of pumpkin spice lattes. What’s more ambiguous is how this personal information is used. And while major Internet companies like Google, Yahoo, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft publish transparency reports to distance themselves from NSA spying paranoia, companies like AT&T and Verizon are decidedly more opaque.

Given the public discourse on information gathering and transparency, we at Survata were curious to see which tech companies have garnered trust among consumers. To do so, we used our consumer survey tool to ask 3,175 online respondents to rank a group of companies in order from their most to least trusted.

In tech we trust

To rank the companies, we showed respondents five companies randomly drawn from our list of 20, and asked them to rank the companies from “most trusted” to “least trusted” with personal data. We found that, at 47%, Google was ranked as the most trusted company most often, followed by Amazon and Apple at 43% and 38%, respectively. AOL, Sprint, and Snapchat were ranked as the most trusted company least often.

There are of course other ways to cut this data. When ranking the companies by highest average placement, Amazon, Google, and Apple again earned the top three spots. Snapchat, Intuit, and AOL had the lowest average placement.

Snapchat is potentially an outlier in our group of 20 companies; because it doesn’t have the massive user base of a company like Apple, Google, or Yahoo, a lower percentage of respondents would have used it. Snapchat also (perhaps unfairly) has a well-documented reputation for exchanging particularly sensitive content (read: “sexting”).

Our take

We found it interesting that Google, which arguably holds the largest quantity of information on the average tech consumer, has maintained such a high level of popular trust. Further, we were surprised to see AT&T and Verizon among the top half of most trusted companies, considering they are bucking the trend of data sharing transparency. However, we expect this index (together with the technology of the companies themselves) to rapidly evolve.

Curious if consumers trust your company? Try Survata and find out.

Footnotes for our fellow data geeks

  1. We interviewed 3,175 online respondents from December 5 to December 8, 2013.
  2. You can download the underlying data here.
  3. You can analyze the underlying data in Statwing here.

Identifying gender by handwriting — you’re probably not as good at it as you think

Although linking handwriting to psychology is considered pseudoscience, there’s some merit in predicting a person’s gender based on their scrawlings.

Whether this gender impression is formed by i’s dotted with hearts or a more subtle signifier, we at Survata were interested in gauging the public’s ability to successfully identify gender based on handwriting. To do so, we gathered five handwriting samples of each gender and presented them to 3,100 respondents using our consumer survey tool, asking if they think the handwriting belongs to a man or woman (see the footnotes for details on our methodology). Overall, we found that respondents correctly identified gender by handwriting 54% of the time.

That average is misleading, though, because it is watered down by a few samples to which responses were overwhelmingly wrong. Respondents were relatively decisive on six of the ten presented samples, with at least 60% of respondents guessing one way. This decisiveness was occasionally for the wrong option, however, as shown below (to test your own gender identification abilities, view the sample on the left before looking at the gender on the right):

Gender equality

The battle of the sexes was a draw when it comes to guessing handwriting; male and female respondents, at 54%, had a virtually equal success rate. But who is better at guessing a specific gender’s writing? It seems like it takes one to know one. Men identified male handwriting successfully 64% of the time, whereas women correctly identified male handwriting writing 59% of the time. Likewise, women were more successful than men at identifying female handwriting by a margin of 49% to 45%.

The female handwriting images in our limited sample were more confounding than the male, as respondents had better luck guessing male samples by a score of 61% to 47%.  Of course, five samples per gender is not enough to generalize which gender’s handwriting is more recognizable overall.

Our take

We were surprised that respondents weren’t better at identifying the gender behind the writings, and that so many were wrong on several of the questions. The participants who submitted handwriting samples were blind to the purpose of the survey, and the samples therefore weren’t intentionally misleading. Perhaps the average person simply isn’t as good a judge as expected.

Is the public jumping to conclusions about your image? Try Survata today to find out.

Footnotes for our fellow data geeks

  1. We obtained handwriting samples from participants recruited on All handwriting samples were from participants in the San Francisco Bay Area.
  2. We did not control for geographic location, age, ethnicity, SES status, or handedness (i.e., left or right). We do not know whether those variables affect gender recognition of a handwriting sample.
  3. We interviewed 3,100 online respondents from November 22 to November 26, 2013.
  4. You can download the underlying data here.
  5. You can analyze the underlying data in Statwing here and here.

The only Thanksgiving survey you’ll ever need: 10,000 people on what, when, and how they plan to celebrate

Thanksgiving is a day to count your blessings, enjoy time with family and friends, and possibly have the pleasure (or displeasure) of running into high school classmates in your hometown.

These holiday traditions can take myriad forms, however, so we at Survata were curious to get a handle on how people across the country will be spending their Thanksgiving Day. To do so, we used our consumer survey tool to ask 10,546 respondents about their plans.

Eating early?

Maybe it’s based on tradition, or on optimizing sustenance for a Black Friday brawl, but the time of day respondents eat their Thanksgiving meal varied significantly by region. Overall, 66% of respondents plan to have their meal between 1 and 5 p.m, with 7% planning on eating before 1 p.m. and 27% after 5 p.m. Those in the Plains region are the most likely to have an early Thanksgiving meal, as 54% of respondents answered they will eat before 3 p.m. The Far West region, on the other hand, is the least likely to have an early meal, with only 26% stating they plan to eat before 3 p.m.

Cooking for a crowd

While spending time with loved ones is obviously a popular Thanksgiving tradition, respondents’ plans range from channeling the Duggars to more of a lone wolf approach. 32% of respondents plan on sharing their Thanksgiving meal with 4 to 7 people, while 14% answered they plan to spend Thanksgiving with 1 to 3 people. 10% of respondents plan to have their meal with more than twenty people.

Poultry preparation

Although turkey is the predominant bird of choice at Thanksgiving, there are a variety of ways to prepare it. Among those planning to cook a turkey, we found that roasting turkey, at 76% of respondents, is the most popular option. 8% of respondents have delicious (albeit dangerous) plans to deep fry their turkey, and 6% will grill their turkey.

Pass the potatoes

However, we all know there are many things besides turkey that will be sending eaters into a Thanksgiving food coma. When it came to Thanksgiving side dishes, our results show that mashed potatoes are the most popular overall, as 31% of respondents listed it as their favorite side dish. Stuffing and sweet potatoes were also commonly selected, at 27% and 14% respectively.

Our take

Other commonly cited traditions included watching football, playing football (although surprisingly less than 10% of respondents planned on participating in a Turkey Bowl) volunteering at a homeless shelter, and relaxing with family. We expected to find more regional correlations in the data, and were surprised to see that most of the categories didn’t vary significantly by geography. Perhaps major Thanksgiving traditions simply transcend state bounds.

Want to gauge consumer behavior across the nation? Try Survata today.

Footnotes for our fellow data geeks

  1. We interviewed 10,546 online respondents from November 13 to November 22, 2013.
  2. You can download the underlying data here.
  3. You can analyze the underlying data in Statwing.

Global warming? 46% believe recent extreme weather an effect of climate change

Sunday marked the deadliest November tornado outbreak in Illinois history, as storms ripped through much of the state killing six and injuring many more.

The storm, notable for its huge scope and unusual seasonal timing, came soon after one of the most powerful typhoons in history devastated the Philippines, displacing an estimated 4 million people. Many refuse to believe that the two catastrophic weather events are coincidental, and instead attribute the extreme weather events to global climate change.

We at Survata were curious if the public would make a similar connection, and whether they even view global climate change as a viable concern. To find out, we used our consumer survey tool to ask 1,255 Americans if they believe Typhoon Haiyan and the recent tornadoes in Illinois are the result of global climate change. We found that 46% answered “Yes,” 25% answered “No,” while 29% are unsure.

Are humans to blame?

Our results show that 52% of respondents believe that human activity is primarily responsible for global warming, while 22% do not and 26% are not sure. Respondents who believe that climate change is caused by human activity are almost three times more likely than non-believers to think it’s the cause of recent extreme weather events. See the full breakdown below:

Cause for concern

We found that 29% of respondents are “very concerned” about global climate change, compared to just 16% who are “not at all concerned.” Unsurprisingly, we found that those who are “very concerned” are eight times more likely than their “not at all concerned” counterparts to attribute recent extreme weather events to global climate change.

Our take

It’s been shown that concern about global warming increases after catastrophic weather events, so the fact that our survey coincided with the aftermath of the Illinois tornadoes and Typhoon Haiyan represents a caveat. We also expect this month’s UN climate summit to affect public opinion, as the latest scientific findings disseminate.

Want to discover what your customer base cares about? Try Survata today.

Footnotes for our fellow data geeks

  1. We interviewed 1,255 online respondents from November 18 to November 19, 2013.
  2. You can download the underlying data here.
  3. You can analyze the underlying data in Statwing.

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.