Last month, shortly after the True Blood season 5 finale, we asked you to let us know what you thought via our second 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. (Our first annual survey can be found here.)
Before we get to the meat of the survey, let’s look at who the respondents were. We had 2,659 people answer at least some of the questions on the survey with 2,060 answering every question, a 78% increase in responses over last year’s survey. Those numbers easily fall within the +/- 3% error margin of total visitors to our site (107,912) during the 3 weeks the survey was open. Of those who took the survey, 89.9% were female, giving the men an extra 1% voice over 2011′s poll.
The age demo showed a bit of a shuffle, however: 36.2% of survey takers were age 18-30 (compared to 45% last year) with another 35.6% falling in the 31-40 range (compared to 28% in 2011). Ah, birthdays! The 41-50 demo made up another 18% with the rest of respondents falling below 18 years old (2.6%) or older than 50 (7.3%).
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: 32.6% of you said that The Vampires are the main reason you watch True Blood. However, that is down compared to last year when 38% of you made that your number one. Picking up those extra votes, and narrowing the gap between first and second, Love, Sex & Romance earned 31.3% of your votes (compared to 26.8% last season). Could this be a reaction to the lack of romance in season 5?
Mythology as seen through the lens of True Blood held on to third with 14.3%, while at the bottom of the pack were the Fae (0.9%), the Weres & Shifters (0.8%), and The Humans (0.3%). Only one response was allowed in this question.
2. Rank the various elements of True Blood by MOST Favorite to LEAST favorite.
This was a difficult question for many, because 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. A few of you had trouble understanding how to respond to this type of question, but in the end about 95% of you were able to figure it out and make your choices.
In theory, when forced to rank the elements, the results should be almost identical to question 1, but this year saw some differences. Love, Sex & Romance earned the most 10 rankings (10 was MOST and 1 was LEAST) with 33.2% of the votes. The Vampires were a close second with 31.9%, and Mythology ranked a distant third with 10.8% of the votes. Why the difference in the two top spots compared to Question 1? Again, we suspect the lack of romance this season is the culprit. The lack was noted by many in comments throughout the season as the action focused more on politics and religion.
The bottom three categories : the least liked element was The Humans with 20.9% of the 1 rankings (remember, 1 is the LEAST liked element). Considering how few humans are left in Bon Temps, it’s not surprising that they struggle for relevance. Coming in a close second for least liked were the Weres and the Shifters with 19.1% of the 1 rankings. In hindsight, we should have split the Weres and Shifters into separate categories as we suspect the Shifter storyline (Sam & Luna) would have ranked higher than the Weres (Alcide, Jackson, JD). Rounding out the bottom three were the Fae with 17.2% of you ranking them as your least liked element.
For reference, last year the Witches were the least liked element, earning 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.
3. Which season 5 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).
Even though it happened at the beginning of the season, the Eric/Pam backstory stuck with you and came in with 38.2% of the most favorite votes. In second place was Tara becoming a vampire with Pam as her Maker (19.5% of your 10 votes/24.9% of your 9 votes), a turn of events that many were wary about in the beginning but were excited about by the end of the season.
Bill turning into “Billith” in the season finale was your third most favorite development, earning 16.1% of your 10 rankings. This was something of a love it or hate it development, however, as 13.9% of you ranked it as your least favorite part of the season. Depending on how True Blood season 6 plays out, we may get to ask this particular question again and compare the data.
Here’s what you didn’t like: Terry and Arlene battling the Ifrit/smoke monster came in dead last with 33.7% of your 1 rankings for least favorite development. Yeah, you already know how we feel about that particular storyline. Hoyt leaving for Alaska also left many of you cold, earning 20.7% of your votes for least favorite development, and there appears to be no love for Nora as her reunion with Eric was your third least liked element of season 5 (16.8%).
4. Whose season 5 character arc did you like most?
Here we had to sit and think about the season and try to see it from other points of view. This was another ranking question, specifically focusing on character arcs – meaning the storyline of a individual characters. It probably shouldn’t have come as a surprise when Eric ran away with the question, earning 60.9% of your MOST favorite votes for top ranking, but it did. Given how little Eric had to do in True Blood season 5, at least to us, what did you all see as so special about his character arc compared to Tara, for example? We felt like we got barely anything Eric-related after episode 4 or 5 until the final few minutes of the finale. Or are we seeing a sort of knee-jerk vote for Eric whenever he is an option? (Please reference Question 4 if addressing this in the comments.)
Pam was a distant second with 13.4% of your 10 rankings and 22.8% of your 9 rankings, while her child/new girlfriend Tara came in third with 10% of the 10 rankings and 14.4% of the 8 rankings.
Battling it out for least favorite character arc were Hoyt with a resounding 43% of your 1 rankings; Bill with 27.1%; and Alcide with 21.6%. If you’d speculated these would be the least favorite characters at the end of season 4, you’d have been laughed off the Internet!
5. Which character who died in season 5 will you miss most?
We didn’t lose as many beloved characters this year as we did in season 4, but you’re still feeling the loss of some interesting people. A hefty 39.6% of you said you would miss Russell Edgington the most, a fact we think would make him proud. Hoyt’s relocation to Alaska has 21.2% of you singing the blues, and although she was with us only briefly, Molly earned a solid 21% of the votes for character who will be missed.
Who won’t be missed? The Authority council didn’t make a lasting impression. Only 0.3% of you will miss Kibwe, with slightly more (0.1%) mourning Drew, the obnoxious 9-year-old vampire. Elijah, the heir presumptive to Eric’s fiefdom, garnered just 0.8% of your votes.
Write-ins were allowed on this question, and about 3% of you chose to use that option. The most popular responses were Bill (i.e. pre-Billith), Godric (assuming Lilith really did finish him off), and “none”. Mike Spencer and Bud Dearborn each got a vote, and one bloodthirsty respondent said, “Kinda wish they’d killed off more.” Only one response was allowed on this question.
6. Which couple(s) are you rooting for?
If love and romance are your favorite elements of True Blood, the you better believe we’re eager to answer and discuss this question! We allowed respondents to choose more than one response here since there are a variety of romances on the show. Once again leading the pack was Sookie/Eric with a commanding 76.1% of the votes. With Bill (and Alcide?) almost definitely out of the running, this is an increase over last year’s 69.8% result. In a distant second place was new couple Tara/Pam with 39.8% of the votes, followed by Jessica/Jason with 34.6%, down significantly from last year when they had a 45.4% approval rating.
What of Sookie’s other suitors? They’re bringing up the rear. Sookie/Bill picked up 9.8% of your votes (down from 16.8%) while Sookie/Alcide plummeted from 21.5% in 2011 to 9.6% in 2012. Ouch. Sookie/Sam came in last with just 2.2% of your votes, and only 6.1% of you are rooting for Eric/Nora.
7. Who do you think should be named season 5′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 59.1% of the votes, up from 48.7% in the very Eric-centric season 4. Again, a puzzling result given how little Eric had to do this season. He did sort of save the day in the end, though, for which I’m sure we’re grateful! In a distant second was Kristin Bauer (Pam) with 8.8% and Stephen Moyer (Bill) rounding out the top three with 7.6% of your votes.
Ranking at the bottom of the MVP list were Dale Dickey (Martha) and Scott Foley (Patrick) with 0, and Jim Parrack (Hoyt), Carrie Preston (Arlene), and Todd Lowe (Terry) with 1 vote each.
We did allow write-ins on this question as well, and received 2 for Godric and 1 for Bud Dearborn, may they rest in peace. Only one response was allowed on this question.
8. Which storyline are you most anticipating in season 6?
Turning our attention ahead, we asked which of the storylines we know about from season 6 were getting you excited already. We didn’t get many clues about what’s coming up next season, but you are hotly anticipating how Sookie and Eric handle “Billith” (58.3% of the votes). The mystery surrounding Warlow is still so vague that it took a distant second with only 17.4% of the votes, and Bill as “Billith” took third place with 13%.
The storylines that aren’t flipping many switches are what happened to Luna after she collapsed (0.9%), Jason’s sudden anti-vampire doctrine (1%), and what happened to Steve Newlin after Russell’s death (1.2%).
Write-ins were also allowed here to allow you to add predicted storylines we may have missed. A few used the space to rant about season 5, which wasn’t relevant so those responses were thrown out. The majority of write-ins were wishes for Eric and Sookie to get together in season 6 and build the relationship seen in the books. A few requests were made for certain elements from the books (Rhodes Summit, Amelia) as well. Only one answer was allowed to this question.
9. How do you feel about spoilers?
With such a long wait between seasons, and the popularity of our spoiler posts, the results to this question aren’t much of a surprise. A whopping 64% of you said that you love spoilers with another 23.9% saying that you don’t seek them out but you do read them. These numbers are up slightly over last year, and tell us that about 88% of True Blood fans appreciate a good spoiler. Only 7.2% said they didn’t want to know anything about the show in advance and 4.9% 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 raged within the fandom for years, especially during True Blood season 4. When we asked this question last year, we were stunned at the results. A year later, we asked the same question as a validity check, and the results are about the same.
A full 69.7% of you said you view yourself as a hybrid, someone who likes both the books and the TV series for what they are. This is down slightly from 71.9% last year, but that’s not a big dip year to year. Only 17.4% of you responded that you’re a series purist, meaning you want the TV series to create its own stories and not follow the books closely, down from 18.9% last year. With the first two answers down slightly, the third place finisher saw a slight gain with 13% saying that they 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 (up from 9.3% in 2011). That small gain of 3.7% could reflect discontent over the increasingly separate storylines between the books and the TV series, or it could reflect that more bookies responded this year than last year.
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 5 and the majority of fans are rooting for him and Sookie as a couple. Surprise couple Pam and Tara are fan-approved, but Jessica and Jason seem to be falling out of favor even as we’re seeking more romance from the show. We can’t wait to see how Sookie and Eric handle the new challenges in season 6, and hopefully each other, and Russell will be missed. We’d like to see more vampires, fewer Weres, and the Fae have yet to win us over. Most fans appreciate the TV series and books as separate entities, and the majority are hungry for spoilers to ease the wait between seasons.
Thanks to everyone who participated in our second annual fan survey! We will be discussing these results in more detail in this week’s podcast, and welcome your comments as well, provided they adhere to our guidelines as noted below.
Updated: The comment rating system has been disabled after abuse toward certain “unpopular” opinions was determined. We are also monitoring comments closely to prevent inappropriate personal attacks. We know that parts of this article have raised ire, but we also know that you don’t want to prove our point by reacting impulsively. This site has always been a place where fans of every character should feel comfortable posting their comments without drawing heat. Please be respectful of others.
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.