Americans' belief in common superstitions

Superstition: Do you believe the following, or not?

Americans' belief in common superstitions This survey, conducted across the United States in January 2014, shows the extent to which Americans believe in 12 common superstitions. 88 percent of the respondents stated they did not believe that 13 is an unlucky number.
Belief in superstitions and religious faith

While light-hearted superstitions bringing good or bad luck are alive and well, the majority of Americans do not believe in them. The most-believed superstition is that finding a penny brings good luck; approximately one third of Americans believe in this. The second most-believed superstition is that seeing the groom before a wedding is bad luck; close to a quarter of the Americans agreed. In contrast, only seven percent of Americans believe that stepping on a crack is bad luck.

Results of the same survey analyzed by religious affiliation show that Catholics tend to believe in such superstitions at higher rates than both Protestants and atheists or agnostics. Therefore it is likely that the more religious you are, the more likely you are to believe in the common cultural superstitions. Looking at a broader poll, which includes differing superstitions/religious beliefs, indicates that almost three quarters of Americans believe in God - an overwhelming majority. Other religious beliefs such as in miracles, heaven, angels, and the devil, were also at the top of this list of things people believe in. The results of the same survey show witches, astrology and reincarnation at the bottom of the list. Interestingly, less people believe in the concept of Heaven than do in the concept of Hell. However, more people believe in them than they do in superstitions, such as seeing the groom before the wedding.
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Superstition: Do you believe the following, or not?

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Yes, I believeNo, I don’t
Finding and picking up a penny is good luck 33%67%
It’s bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding 24%76%
Seven is a lucky number23%77%
Knocking on wood prevents bad luck 21%79%
It’s unlucky to walk under a ladder 20%80%
Opening an umbrella indoors is bad luck14%86%
Friday the 13th is an unlucky day 14%86%
Breaking a mirror brings seven years bad luck 14%86%
Throwing spilled salt over the left shoulder prevents bad luck 13%87%
A black cat crossing your path is bad luck 13%87%
13 is an unlucky number12%88%
Stepping on a crack is bad luck7%93%
Yes, I believeNo, I don’t
Finding and picking up a penny is good luck 33%67%
It’s bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding 24%76%
Seven is a lucky number23%77%
Knocking on wood prevents bad luck 21%79%
It’s unlucky to walk under a ladder 20%80%
Opening an umbrella indoors is bad luck14%86%
Friday the 13th is an unlucky day 14%86%
Breaking a mirror brings seven years bad luck 14%86%
Throwing spilled salt over the left shoulder prevents bad luck 13%87%
A black cat crossing your path is bad luck 13%87%
13 is an unlucky number12%88%
Stepping on a crack is bad luck7%93%
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This survey, conducted across the United States in January 2014, shows the extent to which Americans believe in 12 common superstitions. 88 percent of the respondents stated they did not believe that 13 is an unlucky number.
Belief in superstitions and religious faith

While light-hearted superstitions bringing good or bad luck are alive and well, the majority of Americans do not believe in them. The most-believed superstition is that finding a penny brings good luck; approximately one third of Americans believe in this. The second most-believed superstition is that seeing the groom before a wedding is bad luck; close to a quarter of the Americans agreed. In contrast, only seven percent of Americans believe that stepping on a crack is bad luck.

Results of the same survey analyzed by religious affiliation show that Catholics tend to believe in such superstitions at higher rates than both Protestants and atheists or agnostics. Therefore it is likely that the more religious you are, the more likely you are to believe in the common cultural superstitions. Looking at a broader poll, which includes differing superstitions/religious beliefs, indicates that almost three quarters of Americans believe in God - an overwhelming majority. Other religious beliefs such as in miracles, heaven, angels, and the devil, were also at the top of this list of things people believe in. The results of the same survey show witches, astrology and reincarnation at the bottom of the list. Interestingly, less people believe in the concept of Heaven than do in the concept of Hell. However, more people believe in them than they do in superstitions, such as seeing the groom before the wedding.
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Release date
April 2014
Region
United States
Survey time period
January 15-20, 2014
Number of respondents
2,236 respondents
Age group
18 years and older
Method of interview
Online survey
Supplementary notes
The source worded the question as follows: "For each of the following, do you believe this or not?".
Note: Percentages may not add up to 100 percent due to rounding.
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Dr. Horst Stipp
EVP, Research & Innovation, Advertising Research Foundation

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