Welcome!

News Feed Item

Avoid Black Cats? Walk Around Ladders? Are Americans Superstitious?

Most Americans actually do not believe in any of 12 common superstitions

NEW YORK, Feb. 27, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Do you walk around a black cat or always throw spilled salt over your shoulder? Just how common are beliefs in certain superstitions many Americans grew up hearing from parents and grandparents? Surprisingly, not as common as one might think. There is the childhood phrase "see a penny, pick it up, all day long you'll have good luck" but just one-third of Americans (33%) believe finding and picking up a penny is good luck. Much has been made in Hollywood about having the groom and bride avoid each other before the wedding because it's bad luck, but only one-quarter of Americans (24%) believe in this old wives' tale.

Harris Poll Logo.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,236 adults surveyed online between January 15 and 20, 2014. (Full results, including data tables, available here)

Looking at some other common superstitions:

  • The phrase is "Lucky seven," but just 23% of Americans believe that seven is actually a lucky number;
  • Just one in five (21%) say they believe that knocking on wood prevents bad luck;
  • Most walk right under it, as just 20% believe it's unlucky to walk under a ladder;
  • Go ahead, open it is the motto for most, as only 14% of Americans believe opening an umbrella indoors is bad luck;
  • It can happen a few times a year, and for the 14% who believe that Friday the 13th is an unlucky day, they must be wracked with fear when it arrives;
  • It definitely brings a lot of clean-up, but only 14% of U.S. adults believe that breaking a mirror also brings seven years bad luck;
  • Spill away, as just 13% of Americans say throwing spilled salt over the left shoulder prevents bad luck;
  • There's probably a white patch somewhere, is what the 13% of U.S. adults who believe a black cat crossing their path to be bad luck may think when it happens;
  • Whether it is a Friday or not, just 12% believe the number 13 is unlucky; and,
  • Almost all Americans go ahead and step on it, as only 7% believe stepping on a crack is bad luck.

Some are more superstitious than others
Younger Americans tend to be a more superstitious lot. One-third of Echo Boomers (32%) say it's bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding, compared to one-quarter of Gen Xers (24%), just one in five Baby Boomers (20%) and 14% of Matures. They are also more likely than their older generational counterparts to believe knocking on wood prevents bad luck (29% vs. 20%, 16% and 13% respectively) and breaking a mirror brings seven years bad luck (19% vs. 15%, 9% and 8%).

Looking at a gender difference, women are more likely than men to believe that finding and picking up a penny is good luck (37% vs. 29%). 

There are also some political differences, with Democrats a little more superstitious than Republicans. Democrats are more likely than both Republicans and Independents to believe that seven is a lucky number (28% vs. 20% for both). They are also more likely than Republicans to believe opening an umbrella inside is bad luck (17% vs. 11%) and that a black cat crossing their path is bad luck (16% vs. 10%).

One's religious affiliation also shows a bit of a difference on superstitions. Catholics are more likely than Protestants to say knocking on wood prevents bad luck (27% vs. 20%) and breaking a mirror brings seven years bad luck (21% vs. 13%). Catholics and Protestants, however, are both much more likely than Atheists and Agnostics to believe finding and picking up a penny is good luck (40% and 35% vs. 16%) and that seven is a lucky number (26% and 24% vs. 10%).

To view the full findings, or to see other recent Harris Polls, please visit the Harris Poll News Room.

Want Harris Polls delivered direct to your inbox? Click here!

Methodology
This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between January 15 and 20, 2013 among 2,236 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, The Harris Poll avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of The Harris Poll.

Product and brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

The Harris Poll® #20, February 27, 2014
By Regina A. Corso, SVP, The Harris Poll and Public Relations Research

About Nielsen & The Harris Poll
On February 3, 2014, Nielsen acquired Harris Interactive and The Harris Poll.  Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence and mobile measurement. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com.

Press Contact:
Corporate Communications
The Harris Poll
212-539-9600
[email protected]

Logo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100517/NY06256LOGO

SOURCE The Harris Poll

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to w...
Is advanced scheduling in Kubernetes achievable? Yes, however, how do you properly accommodate every real-life scenario that a Kubernetes user might encounter? How do you leverage advanced scheduling techniques to shape and describe each scenario in easy-to-use rules and configurations? In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Oleg Chunikhin, CTO at Kublr, will answer these questions and demonstrate techniques for implementing advanced scheduling. For example, using spot instances ...
DevOps is under attack because developers don’t want to mess with infrastructure. They will happily own their code into production, but want to use platforms instead of raw automation. That’s changing the landscape that we understand as DevOps with both architecture concepts (CloudNative) and process redefinition (SRE). Rob Hirschfeld’s recent work in Kubernetes operations has led to the conclusion that containers and related platforms have changed the way we should be thinking about DevOps and...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Taica will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Taica manufacturers Alpha-GEL brand silicone components and materials, which maintain outstanding performance over a wide temperature range -40C to +200C. For more information, visit http://www.taica.co.jp/english/.
When it comes to cloud computing, the ability to turn massive amounts of compute cores on and off on demand sounds attractive to IT staff, who need to manage peaks and valleys in user activity. With cloud bursting, the majority of the data can stay on premises while tapping into compute from public cloud providers, reducing risk and minimizing need to move large files. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Scott Jeschonek, Director of Product Management at Avere Systems, discussed the IT and busine...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SourceForge has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SourceForge is the largest, most trusted destination for Open Source Software development, collaboration, discovery and download on the web serving over 32 million viewers, 150 million downloads and over 460,000 active development projects each and every month.
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities – ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups. As a result, many firms employ new business models that place enormous impor...
SYS-CON Events announced today that TidalScale will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TidalScale is the leading provider of Software-Defined Servers that bring flexibility to modern data centers by right-sizing servers on the fly to fit any data set or workload. TidalScale’s award-winning inverse hypervisor technology combines multiple commodity servers (including their ass...
As popularity of the smart home is growing and continues to go mainstream, technological factors play a greater role. The IoT protocol houses the interoperability battery consumption, security, and configuration of a smart home device, and it can be difficult for companies to choose the right kind for their product. For both DIY and professionally installed smart homes, developers need to consider each of these elements for their product to be successful in the market and current smart homes.
SYS-CON Events announced today that MIRAI Inc. will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MIRAI Inc. are IT consultants from the public sector whose mission is to solve social issues by technology and innovation and to create a meaningful future for people.
In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Dumas, Calligo’s Vice President and G.M. of US operations, will go over the new Global Data Protection Regulation and how Calligo can help business stay compliant in digitally globalized world. Greg Dumas is Calligo's Vice President and G.M. of US operations. Calligo is an established service provider that provides an innovative platform for trusted cloud solutions. Calligo’s customers are typically most concerned about GDPR compliance, applicatio...
Companies are harnessing data in ways we once associated with science fiction. Analysts have access to a plethora of visualization and reporting tools, but considering the vast amount of data businesses collect and limitations of CPUs, end users are forced to design their structures and systems with limitations. Until now. As the cloud toolkit to analyze data has evolved, GPUs have stepped in to massively parallel SQL, visualization and machine learning.
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, will lead you through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He'll look at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering ...
As hybrid cloud becomes the de-facto standard mode of operation for most enterprises, new challenges arise on how to efficiently and economically share data across environments. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Dr. Allon Cohen, VP of Product at Elastifile, will explore new techniques and best practices that help enterprise IT benefit from the advantages of hybrid cloud environments by enabling data availability for both legacy enterprise and cloud-native mission critical applications. By rev...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dasher Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Dasher Technologies, Inc. ® is a premier IT solution provider that delivers expert technical resources along with trusted account executives to architect and deliver complete IT solutions and services to help our clients execute their goals, plans and objectives. Since 1999, we'v...