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More than half of U.S. shoppers would buy an iPhone 5, but most Americans own Android phones

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With the holidays just around the corner, shoppers are scrambling to snag smartphones, tablets and other gadgets that sit atop their loved ones’ wish lists. According to the analysts at Piper Jaffray, those in the market for a new handset are leaning toward the iPhone 5.

The investment banking firm reportedly surveyed more than 800 U.S. citizens, according to Apple Insider. The poll indicates that when it comes to the battle between Android and iOS, the numbers were nearly even pre-iPhone 5 launch. After Apple’s newest smartphone was unveiled in September, the numbers shifted a bit, with 54.9 percent voting that they would purchase an iPhone and 35.2 percent leaning toward Android. Piper Jaffray conducted a third poll this month, and the statistics have largely stayed the same, with 53.3 percent voting iOS and 35.3 percent voting Android.

“We believe this is a positive that demonstrates the majority of U.S. consumers want an iPhone 5 even following the launch craze, and despite the Maps issues that have been widely noted,” analyst Gene Munster said.

As for the remaining platforms, Windows Phone enthusiasm seemed to have declined since September, according to the survey. In September before the iPhone 5 was unveiled, 8.7 percent of those polled expressed interest in Microsoft’s mobile brand. That number fell to 5.2 percent in October during the second round of votes and increased slightly in December to 6.5 percent. Research in Motion’s Blackberry platform largely remained the same throughout the entire process, staying at 4.7 percent in September and October and moving to 4.9 percent in December.

While these numbers appear to sway in Apple’s favor, there is one crucial fact to keep in mind. These statistics are polls based on what American shoppers think they might purchase. They do not reflect the actual state of the mobile market. In fact, Android takes a pretty significant lead over Apple when you break down the current statistics. Gartner’s data from the third quarter of 2012 shows that Android accounts for a whopping 72.4 percent of the entire mobile market, while Apple only comprises 13.9 percent.

What’s curious is that so many potential American smartphone buyers have said they would purchase an iPhone 5 over an Android device. These survey numbers don’t seem to align with the reality of the smartphone market, but they’re still interesting to think about.