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
"We're a cybersecurity firm that specializes in engineering security solutions both at the software and hardware level. Security cannot be an after-the-fact afterthought, which is what it's become," stated Richard Blech, Chief Executive Officer at Secure Channels, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Most companies are adopting or evaluating container technology - Docker in particular - to speed up application deployment, drive down cost, ease management and make application delivery more flexible overall. As with most new architectures, this dream takes a lot of work to become a reality. Even when you do get your application componentized enough and packaged properly, there are still challenges for DevOps teams to making the shift to continuous delivery and achieving that reduction in cost ...
Enterprise architects are increasingly adopting multi-cloud strategies as they seek to utilize existing data center assets, leverage the advantages of cloud computing and avoid cloud vendor lock-in. This requires a globally aware traffic management strategy that can monitor infrastructure health across data centers and end-user experience globally, while responding to control changes and system specification at the speed of today’s DevOps teams. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Josh Gray, Chie...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. Jack Norris reviews best practices to show how companies develop, deploy, and dynamically update these applications and how this data-first...
Intelligent Automation is now one of the key business imperatives for CIOs and CISOs impacting all areas of business today. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Boeggeman, VP Alliances & Partnerships at Ayehu, will talk about how business value is created and delivered through intelligent automation to today’s enterprises. The open ecosystem platform approach toward Intelligent Automation that Ayehu delivers to the market is core to enabling the creation of the self-driving enterprise.
"At the keynote this morning we spoke about the value proposition of Nutanix, of having a DevOps culture and a mindset, and the business outcomes of achieving agility and scale, which everybody here is trying to accomplish," noted Mark Lavi, DevOps Solution Architect at Nutanix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We're here to tell the world about our cloud-scale infrastructure that we have at Juniper combined with the world-class security that we put into the cloud," explained Lisa Guess, VP of Systems Engineering at Juniper Networks, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Historically, some banking activities such as trading have been relying heavily on analytics and cutting edge algorithmic tools. The coming of age of powerful data analytics solutions combined with the development of intelligent algorithms have created new opportunities for financial institutions. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Sebastien Meunier, Head of Digital for North America at Chappuis Halder & Co., discussed how these tools can be leveraged to develop a lasting competitive advantage ...
As more and more companies are making the shift from on-premises to public cloud, the standard approach to DevOps is evolving. From encryption, compliance and regulations like GDPR, security in the cloud has become a hot topic. Many DevOps-focused companies have hired dedicated staff to fulfill these requirements, often creating further siloes, complexity and cost. This session aims to highlight existing DevOps cultural approaches, tooling and how security can be wrapped in every facet of the bu...
Docker containers have brought great opportunities to shorten the deployment process through continuous integration and the delivery of applications and microservices. This applies equally to enterprise data centers as well as the cloud. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Jari Kolehmainen, founder and CTO of Kontena, discussed solutions and benefits of a deeply integrated deployment pipeline using technologies such as container management platforms, Docker containers, and the drone.io Cl tool. H...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Robert Cohen, an economist and senior fellow at the Economic Strategy Institute, presented the findings of a series of six detailed case studies of how large corporations are implementing IoT. The session explored how IoT has improved their economic performance, had major impacts on business models and resulted in impressive ROIs. The companies covered span manufacturing and services firms. He also explored servicification, how manufacturing firms shift from se...
Connecting to major cloud service providers is becoming central to doing business. But your cloud provider’s performance is only as good as your connectivity solution. Massive Networks will place you in the driver's seat by exposing how you can extend your LAN from any location to include any cloud platform through an advanced high-performance connection that is secure and dedicated to your business-critical data. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Paul Mako, CEO & CIO of Massive Networks, wil...
You know you need the cloud, but you’re hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You’re looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you’re concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies.
The question before companies today is not whether to become intelligent, it’s a question of how and how fast. The key is to adopt and deploy an intelligent application strategy while simultaneously preparing to scale that intelligence. In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sangeeta Chakraborty, Chief Customer Officer at Ayasdi, will provide a tactical framework to become a truly intelligent enterprise, including how to identify the right applications for AI, how to build a Center of Excellence to ...
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...