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Gallup: The 'Internet Industry' Reaches New Heights in Perception

August 31, 2015

The “Internet industry” is a pretty broad term, sufficiently so that even a polling titan like Gallup doesn't go too closely into detail about just what it is, with some experts calling it anything related to the companies that either operate on or provide access to the Internet. Regardless of the definition, Gallup noted that it's on the rise, as more people than ever in the last 15 years view the Internet industry as either very or somewhat positive.

The recent Gallup poll—the August 5-9 Work and Education poll, specifically—put 60 percent of respondents in the very/somewhat positive pool, a measure which is not only a record high for the last 15 years but also up 49 percent over last year. This ranking surpasses the former high of 56 percent. Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, just 16 percent of Americans view the industry negatively, while 22 percent are largely neutral.

Since the larger poll actually covered 25 different industry sectors, it provided an interesting look at how Americans viewed the Internet industry alongside others as well. Indeed, the Internet industry is now third in positive feeling, ranking only behind the restaurant and computer industries. The computer industry, however, is only slightly ahead of the Internet industry, reports note, and the computer industry has been somewhat flat of late, so a bit of a coup may be in the offing for future surveys.

The Internet industry covers so many waterfronts at once; reports suggest that it can include everything from Internet portals to e-commerce systems as well as individual websites—meaning just about everything from Amazon to TMCNet and beyond is covered here. The sheer scope of the industry isn't the only thing driving its forward momentum, reports note, as growth in key demographic groups seems to be lending an extra push. Republicans and independent voters are getting a better perception, and older respondents are likewise coming around. Women have substantially improved perception of the Internet in recent years, and those with lower education levels have also chipped in big increases.

Image via Gallup

Basically, from the looks of the study, the Internet industry is becoming a greater part of people's lives, and many are starting to actively feel the positive impact of such involvement. As more users turn to the Internet for work, play, shopping, and a host of other lifestyle points, it's not hard to feel more connected to it emotionally as the surface is less alien. With the mobile workforce ringing in, more jobs available online than ever, and some clear benefits on display, it's easy to suggest that people are starting to feel better about the Internet in general. That translates into the upward trend and new record positives Gallup is seeing, and may well continue to see.

That's going to be the big test in the end: can Gallup's numbers keep an upward trend or at least hold onto some of the positive gains? Considering the sea change the Internet in general has undergone of late, that may well happen, thanks to plenty of uses and a safer environment. But given that users currently have a much more positive view of the Internet than of the federal government—60 percent to 25 percent—it's a safe bet that the Internet will stay a happy topic.

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

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