Tech Giants Hold the Fort in Basic Public Popularity

By Gary Langer

Jun 5, 2013 7:00am

Belying the tech market’s image of ever-shifting consumer allegiances, three icons of the sector are displaying a notable attribute: Stability in their basic popularity.

Google, Apple and Facebook, which held toweringly positive public profiles in an ABC News/Washington Post poll 14 months ago, still hold them today. That’s especially impressive for Apple, which has been hammered recently from Wall Street to Washington.

See PDF with full results and charts here.

Google remains atop the pack: Eighty-three percent of Americans express a favorable opinion of the search, app, smartphone and gizmo giant, essentially the same as last year’s 82 percent. In a slight sign of erosion, 48 percent now see it “strongly” favorably, down 5 points. But those still are extraordinary ratings.

Seventy-two percent rate Apple favorably in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates – again basically unchanged from last year, 74 percent. That’s remarkable given its year: Apple’s stock price is 36 percent off its peak in September. It’s lost share in smartphones, tablets and apps alike; slowed product launches; taken heat from Congress for its tax-avoidance efforts; and just went on trial for alleged price-fixing on e-books.

Lastly there’s Facebook, stable in its “likes.” Sixty percent see the social media company favorably, vs. 58 percent in April 2012. That’s despite its own travails – a problematic IPO, a turbulent but ultimately flat stock performance, controversy about its privacy policies and debate on the effectiveness of its efforts to curb hate speech.

Still, while essentially steady, Facebook also has kept its detractors: Three in 10 adults see it unfavorably overall, about twice the negatives of Apple and three times those of Google.

AGE GROUPS – In one sign of potential fallout, Apple’s popularity has slipped slightly among young adults, with a favorable rating among 18- to 29-year-olds of 71 percent now, vs. 81 percent a little more than year ago. While it made that back among other age groups, a quarter of young adults now see Apple unfavorably, higher than its negative rating among their elders.

Google, for its part, is seen favorably by 93 percent of under-30s, and a vast 72 percent in this age group see the company “strongly” favorably, much higher than in other age categories. As for Facebook, its appeal peaks among under-40s, not just under-30s.

At the other end of age spectrum, all the tech giants are weakest among seniors, in large part simply because they’re less likely to use the internet in the first place. Twenty-two percent of seniors have no opinion of Google at all, vs. single digits in other age groups. Similarly, about a quarter of seniors have no opinion of Apple or Facebook.

METHODOLOGY – This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by landline and cell phone May 29-June 2, 2013, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,007 adults. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 points. The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y., with sampling, data collection and tabulation by SSRS/Social Science Research Solutions of Media, Pa.

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