Survey: 77% Of Americans Oppose Search Engine Regulation

Seventy-seven percent of American adults oppose government regulation of search engine results, and frequent Internet users oppose it most strongly. That’s according to Rasmussen Reports’ analysis of a new telephone survey conducted this week.

The response is consistent with other results that show that 54% of voters oppose regulation of the internet by the US Federal Communications Commission.

In the search engine poll, voters were asked if there was “a need for government regulation of the way that search engines select the recommendations they provide.” In addition to the 77% saying now, 11% said yes while 12% were not sure.

The sentiments were fairly consistent among internet users, though more heavy users were opposed to regulation. Though one might think that concerns about inappropriate content might lead people with children in the home to favor regulation, this survey showed them to be among the more strongly opposed to regulation.

Happy With Search, Loyal…

The lack of a desire for regulation could stem from users’ satisfaction with search engines. Rasmussen found that Internet users are generally happy with search engines and their speed, with 89% of regular users rating their experience as good or excellent in terms of finding the information they needed. Fewer than one half a percent rated the search engines they use as poor.

This general level of satisfaction has apparently led to high brand loyalty, with 78% of respondents reporting that they generally use the same search engine all of the time. Just 19% used more than one.

But Concerned Over Irrelevant Matches

The one sour note for search engines was a feeling that they return too much irrelevant data — 70% of respondents were concerned about that. Only 13% said they couldn’t find what they needed.

The survey of 740 adult Internet users was conducted last week. The margin of sampling error, according to the company, is +/- 4 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

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Related Topics: Channel: Strategy | Search & Society: General | Stats: General | Top News


About The Author: is Executive Features Editor at Search Engine Land and Marketing Land. She’s a well-respected authority on digital marketing, having reported and written on the subject since 1998.

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  • Adam Alter

    Sure, 77% sounds high, but 11% think the government should take over and regulate search results? That’s scary!

  • Craig Bailey

    Never mind the useless results (ie asking 740 people is hardly representative) this post really should focus on how good Rasmussen are at linkbait. The actual question about Gov regulation (question 8): “Is there a need for government regulation of the way that search engines select the recommendations they provide?” looks like a lucky last minute addition to the survey. It’s also pretty non-threatening. The genius of this is that one of the clever folk at Rasmussen managed to turn it into linkbait where people report it as ’77% against regulation’, ’77% oppose’, ’77% anti-Government regulation’ etc, etc when you see the retweets.
    And I suspect the respondents who did say there should be regulation were probably just annoyed about the amount of spam they see… we’ll never know ;)
    Congratulations Rasmussen – your PR manager deserves a raise.
    And if you’re lucky you’ll probably get a link to the ‘finding’ from Wikipedia.

  • nuttakorn

    The system in US and China is different, US should not regulate the search engines. As major search engines are public company that disclose enough information. If there is some terms are immediate impact to nation security, Government can immediately asked to search engines to cooperate.

  • George Michie

    Craig said it well, this is a pretty meaningless survey. In today’s political climate 77% of people would oppose “government regulation of _____” — fill in the blank with anything, including “interstate commerce” which Congress is responsible for regulating.

  • http://mauricewalshe mauricewalshe

    as yes minester proved its how your ask the question :-)

    Q1 do you agree that something must be done to protect our children from this filth on the internet.

    Q2 do you think the companies that provide this porn should do something about this.

    Q3 do you think the government should make them do something about it.

  • FernandoGarces

    I wonder how much of this has to do with the fact that Google dominates search with roughly 65% of market share. This way, the question is not so much whether or not internet users oppose government regulation of search engines but whether or not they oppose government regulation of Google. I’m willing to bet the percentages would be much different if the questions were engine specific.

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