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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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