Most Americans see a lack of competition among tech companies as a serious problem

Taylor OrthDirector of Survey Data Journalism
February 07, 2023, 7:00 PM GMT+0

Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice and a group of eight states filed a lawsuit against Google accusing the company of illegally monopolizing the online advertising market. The suit was the first major antitrust case brought by the Justice Department against a major tech company during Joe Biden's presidency.

New polling from the Economist and YouGov finds that while many people don't have an opinion on the suit, more Americans approve than disapprove of it, with half saying they believe Google has a monopoly in the online ad market. More broadly, there is widespread bipartisan concern over anti-competitive behavior in the tech industry, with many viewing the lack of competition as a serious issue.

A lack of competition among major tech companies is viewed as a serious problem by most Americans, with 27% describing it as "very serious" and 34% as "somewhat serious." Just 16% describe it as "not very serious" or "not at all serious"; 23% are unsure. Yet other recent polling suggests that anti-competitive behavior isn't among Americans' top tech-related worries: When asked how concerned they were about 20 issues relating to the U.S. tech industry, "the lack of competition between technology companies" ranked No. 17 in terms of the percentage of Americans who are very concerned, behind issues of privacy, election interference, and the outsourcing of jobs.

Members of both parties share concern over monopolizing behavior in tech: 65% of Democrats and 64% of Republicans describe it as a very or somewhat serious problem. Independents are slightly less concerned, in part because they are more likely to be unsure.

By 41% to 19%, Americans approve of the Justice Department's recent suit against Google for alleged monopolization of digital advertising technologies; 40% are not sure.

While members of both parties are more likely to approve than disapprove of the lawsuit brought by a Democratic president's administration, Democrats approve by a somewhat larger margin (48% to 17%) than Republicans do (38% to 25%).

People who think Google has a monopoly on digital advertising are especially supportive of the Justice Department's suit against the company: 63% approve and 13% disapprove. About half of all Americans — 51% — believe that Google has a monopoly on internet advertising, with just 22% saying the company does not. This belief is roughly equally widespread among Democrats (49%) and Republicans (53%).

— Carl Bialik and Linley Sanders contributed to this article

See the toplines and crosstabs from the Economist/YouGov poll conducted on January 29 - 31, 2023 among 1,500 U.S. adult citizens.

Methodology: Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel using sample matching. A random sample (stratified by gender, age, race, education, geographic region, and voter registration) was selected from the 2019 American Community Survey. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, education, 2020 election turnout and presidential vote, baseline party identification, and current voter registration status. Demographic weighting targets come from the 2019 American Community Survey. Baseline party identification is the respondent’s most recent answer given prior to June 1, 2022, and is weighted to the estimated distribution at that time (34% Democratic, 31% Republican). The margin of error for the overall sample is approximately 3%.

Image: Adobe Stock (mehaniq41)