Last month, shortly after the True Blood season 4 finale, we asked you to let us know what you thought via our first annual True Blood fan survey. The results are in and we’ve taken some time to analyze what it all means within the context of the fandom.
Before we get to the meat of the survey, let’s look at who the respondents were. We had 2,031 people answer at least some of the questions on the survey with 1,610 answering every question. Those numbers are easily enough to fall within the +/- 3% error margin of total visitors to our site (204,101) during the 3 weeks the survey was open. Of those who took the survey, 90.9% were female! We knew we had more female than male visitors engaged in commenting on True-Blood.net, but that’s an astounding percentage.
Another surprise came in the age demo: 45% of survey takers were age 18-30 with another 28% falling in the 31-40 range. The 41-50 demo made up another 16% with the rest of respondents falling below 18 years old (3.3%) or older than 50 (7%).
What does this tell us? That Truebies who frequent True-Blood.net are primarily women under the age of 50. Now on to the content questions. Click the images to enlarge the graphs.
1. Which element of True Blood is the main reason you watch?
The number one ranked element shouldn’t be a surprise given the subject matter: 38% of you said that The Vampires are the main reason you watch True Blood. Love, Sex & Romance was a distant second place with 26.8% and Mythology as seen through the lens of True Blood came in third with 16.4%. Ranking at the bottom of the pack were The Weres & Shifters with 10 votes (.5%), The Witches with 2 votes (.1%), and The Humans with a single vote (0%). Only one response was allowed in this question.
2. Rank the various elements of True Blood by MOST Favorite to LEAST favorite.
And then we made you think really hard about what you like most and least about True Blood. The ranking questions are my favorite because they force a person to analyze where everything falls in their schema of entertainment and enjoyability. We got some some grumbling via email and Twitter about it, but it was good-natured grumbling.
In theory, when forced to rank the elements, the results should be almost identical to question 1, and they were. The Vampires earned the most 10 rankings (10 was MOST and 1 was LEAST) with 37.5% of the votes. Love, Sex & Romance followed with 26.5% and Mythology ranked third with 14% of the votes. Very close to the rankings in question 1.
The bottom three categories were where results diverged: the least liked element was The Witches with 29% of the 1 rankings. The Humans were the second lowest scorers with 16.5% of the bottom ranking, followed by Family Ties with 12% of respondents ranking it their least favorite element. The Weres & Shifters actually ranked highest at #8, meaning 15.4% of respondents said it was their third favorite element when ranking them all. This could be the result of confusion about what ranking equaled MOST and what equaled LEAST favorite, but considering how closely the top 3 and bottom 2 rankings match the results in question 1, it could mean that once forced to rank the elements, The Weres and Shifters rose in likeability.
3. Which season 4 development did you like most?
Another ranking question! This time we asked you to rank specific plot developments from MOST favorite (10) to LEAST favorite (1). It was a landslide in favor of Eric losing his memory with a whopping 62.3% of you giving it a 10. Pam losing her face was your second favorite development, earning 15.9% of your votes for the #9 spot. In a virtual tie for third place, separated by 5 votes, was Bill becoming King of Louisiana (13.9% of you ranked that at #9) and Martonia’s war against the vampires (13.6% of you ranked that at #9).
Here’s what you didn’t like: Mavis haunting Terry & Arlene earned 20.4% of your #1 votes (remember, 1 equals LEAST favorite) with Sookie’s year-long disappearance (16.3% of your #1 votes) and Jason held captive in Hotshot (15.6% of your #1 votes) rounding out the bottom 3.
4. Whose season 4 character arc did you like most?
Rather than have you choose a single character on this one, we decided to go with the ranking system again, producing some interesting results. As you might expect from the results of question 3, Eric ran away with this one as well, earning 63.8% of your MOST favorite votes for top ranking. Second place went to Sookie with 26.9% of your #9 votes and third went to Bill with 16.9% of your #8 votes.
Battling it out for least favorite character arc were Tommy (28.2%), Andy (24.5%) and Marnie (20.8%).
5. Which character who died in season 4 will you miss most?
This was a bad season for some of our favorite characters, especially toward the end when the Witch War turned deadly. A hefty 43% of you said you would miss Jesus Velazquez most, although it sounds like we may see him in some form next season, so don’t get too upset. Tara Thornton’s presumed death had 24.9% of you feeling down while 12.8% of you will miss Queen Sophie Ann.
Who won’t be missed? The Mickenses in general got a “good riddance” with Melinda getting 0 votes, Joe Lee getting 1 vote, and Tommy only getting 63 votes. Felton Norris also got a single vote. Only one response was allowed on this question.
6. Which couple(s) are you rooting for?
Ah, the ‘shipper wars! Here’s where the biggest surprised was served. Given the vociferousness of various ‘shipper factions, we allowed respondents to choose more than one response here, thinking we’d see a fairly balanced result. Nope! Leading the pack by far was Sookie/Eric with 69.8% of the votes. Next was Jessica/Jason with 45.4%, an unexpectedly positive response to that pairing. Third was Sam/Luna earning 30.7% of the votes.
What of Sookie’s other suitors? Sookie/Alcide picked up 21.5% of your votes while Sookie/Bill only earned 16.8%. That latter was much, much lower than expected given the comments we’ve had on our site. Apparently it’s a minority who want them together, but a very vocal one! Sookie/Sam garnered 2.5% of your votes, trailed only by Jason/Crystal with 1.1%.
7. Who do you think should be named season 4′s Most Valuable Player?
This should be a no-brainer if you’ve been paying attention to the results of the other questions: Alexander Skarsgard (Eric) easily took the crown here with 48.7% of the votes. In a distant second was Nelsan Ellis (Lafayette) with 13.6% and Kevin Alejandro (Jesus) rounding out the top three with 10.6% of your votes.
Ranking at the bottom of the MVP list were Marshall Allman (Tommy) and Chris Bauer (Andy) with just 2 votes each and Paola Turbay (Antonia) and Lauren Bowles (Holly) earning 4 votes each. Two of those characters are gone now, but maybe Andy and Holly will have more to do next season? Only one response was allowed to this question.
8. Which storyline are you most anticipating in season 5?
Turning our attention ahead, we asked which of the storylines we know about from season 5 were getting you excited already. The return of Russell Edgington is your most hotly anticipated storyline with 31.9% of the votes. Also making the wait until next summer seem longer are Eric turning Pam (20.5%) and the possible introduction of Quinn (14.5%).
The storylines that aren’t flipping many switches are Terry and his army buddy, Patrick Devins (1.4%), the mysterious new female vampire (1.5%), and the fallout of Sookie killing Debbie (4.7%). We wonder if these rankings would be different if we polled Truebies now that more information about the new mysterious vampire has been released.
9. How do you feel about spoilers?
With such a long wait between seasons, we were pretty sure we knew the answer to this, but figured this would be a good time to verify. Sure enough, 63.8% of you said that you love spoilers with another 21.9% saying that you don’t seek them out but you do read them. That means around 86% of True Blood fans like a good spoiler. Only 9.1% said they didn’t want to know anything about the show in advance and 5.2% said they just plain don’t trust spoilers.
Note: Questions 10 and 11 were demographic questions, covered in the first section of this report.
12. Are you a Bookie? Truebie? Hybrid?
The book vs. show debate has also raged in the comments and on the forum (and on Twitter, and on Facebook) for years now, so we wondered, just how do our readers view themselves? Honestly, we expected a pretty even divide here, but the results were far from it: a whopping 71.9% of you said you view yourself as a hybrid, someone who likes both the books and the TV series for what they are.
Surprising us even more, 18.9% of you said that you’re a series purist, meaning you want the TV series to create its own stories and not follow the books closely, and just 9.3% viewed themselves as book purists, meaning that you want everything from the books to be in the show the way that Charlaine Harris wrote them.
Given the forcefulness of the books vs. series debate, we were stunned to see so few of you identify yourselves as book purists. Another vocal minority for sure!
What can we learn from these numbers? The online True Blood fandom, at least those who visit True-Blood.net which has the most traffic of any True Blood fansite, skews young and female. Eric was by far the most popular character and storyline in season 4 and the majority of fans are rooting for him and Sookie as a couple. Surprisingly few people are rooting for Bill and Sookie, but Jason and Jessica are fan-approved. We can’t wait for Russell Edgington to return, and Pam continues to rank among fan favorites. Most fans appreciate the TV series and books as separate entities, and the majority are hungry for spoilers to ease the wait between seasons.
This survey was conducted by True-Blood.net and measured opinions of fans who visit our site. It was not endorsed, sponsored, or affiliated with HBO or anyone associated with True Blood.