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Editorial Objectivity

Consumer Search Insights.

Should search engines be able to preferentially promote their own services in their search results?

Nearly 3 in 4 people think that search engines should not be able to preferentially promote their own services.

voteAll (1226)
no, results should be objective74.1% (+3.1 / -3.4)
yes, it is their search results25.9% (+3.4 / -3.1)

There was essentially no split between men & women.

vote Men (827)Women (399)
no, results should be objective73.7% (+3.1 / -3.4)74.4% (+5.2 / -6.0)
yes, it is their search results26.3% (+3.4 / -3.1)25.6% (+6.0 / -5.2)

Older people tend to prefer/want more editorial objectivity, whereas younger people are more fine with search engines preferentially promoting their own services. Older people tend to be more fixed in their ways & younger people are much less so.

vote 18-24 year-olds (338)25-34 year-olds (269)35-44 year-olds (158)45-54 year-olds (209)55-64 year-olds (169)65+ year-olds (83)
no, results should be objective65.0% (+4.9 / -5.2)76.0% (+5.1 / -6.0)74.0% (+6.5 / -7.7)71.2% (+5.7 / -6.5)71.4% (+6.5 / -7.5)87.2% (+6.1 / -10.4)
yes, it is their search results35.0% (+5.2 / -4.9)24.0% (+6.0 / -5.1)26.0% (+7.7 / -6.5)28.8% (+6.5 / -5.7)28.6% (+7.5 / -6.5)12.8% (+10.4 / -6.1)

Geographically, people in the south & midwest tend to be slightly more trusting, perhaps due to the lower cost of living & less competitive markets. However, any differences here are fairly minor & are within the margin of error.

vote The US Midwest (244)The US Northeast (367)The US South (352)The US West (263)
no, results should be objective72.2% (+6.4 / -7.4)77.7% (+4.5 / -5.3)72.1% (+6.0 / -6.9)75.9% (+5.7 / -6.9)
yes, it is their search results27.8% (+7.4 / -6.4)22.3% (+5.3 / -4.5)27.9% (+6.9 / -6.0)24.1% (+6.9 / -5.7)

People who are rural tend to be slightly more accepting of Google doing as it wishes, though this is also a small sample size & well within the margin of error.

vote Urban areas (647)Rural areas (106)Suburban areas (453)
no, results should be objective74.3% (+4.3 / -4.9)71.9% (+8.5 / -10.5)74.4% (+4.2 / -4.7)
yes, it is their search results25.7% (+4.9 / -4.3)28.1% (+10.5 / -8.5)25.6% (+4.7 / -4.2)

There isn’t a strong correlation with income on this issue either. People cared a bit more at higher income levels, but there was also a wider margin of error due to small sampling size.

vote People earning $ 0-24K (142)People earning $ 25-49K (677)People earning $ 50-74K (316)People earning $ 75-99K (75)People earning $ 100-149KPeople earning $ 150K+
no, results should be objective72.0% (+7.8 / -9.4)76.8% (+3.7 / -4.1)68.7% (+6.1 / -6.8)83.1% (+6.9 / -10.2)Insufficient dataInsufficient data
yes, it is their search results28.0% (+9.4 / -7.8)23.2% (+4.1 / -3.7)31.3% (+6.8 / -6.1)16.9% (+10.2 / -6.9)Insufficient dataInsufficient data
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