by Aaron Earls
Pretty warmly it turns out.
Evangelicals, along with Jews and Catholics, are thought of more positively than other religious groups in America, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center.
When respondents were asked to rate each group on a “feeling thermometer” ranging from 0 to 100 (with 0 being the most negative possible rating and 100 the most positive) all three groups received an average rating of 60 or higher — 63 for Jews, 62 for Catholics, and 61 for evangelical Christians.
Buddhist (53), Hindus (50), and Mormons (48) are part of a middle group with neutral ratings, while Americans view atheists (41) and Muslims (40) less favorably.
This is partially due to evangelicals and Catholics making up the largest two portions of respondents – 32 and 20 percent respectively – and viewing themselves and each other favorably.
For non-evangelicals, they were almost as likely to view evangelicals coldly (27 percent) as warmly (30 percent). Forty-two percent say they are somewhere in the middle – between 34 and 66.
The two groups who viewed each other the coldest are evangelicals and atheist. Atheists gave evangelicals their lowest rating at 28, while evangelicals did the same for atheists with a 25.
Age also influenced the way people view religious groups. In general, the older you are the more likely you are to view Jews, Catholics, evangelicals, and Mormons favorably. On the contrary, the younger you are the more likely you are to have positive feelings about Buddhists, Hindus, atheists, and Muslims.
When evaluated by political preference, Republicans had much more separation between the feelings they had toward certain groups. The ratings ranged from evangelicals at 71 to Muslims at 33. For Democrats, their ratings were much closer together, with Jews garnering a 62 and Mormons a 44.
The survey also evaluated how likely Americans were to know a member of a specific faith group. The majority know someone who is Catholic, not religious, evangelical, Jewish, or atheist. Less than half say they are familiar with anyone who is Mormon, Muslim, Buddhist or Hindu.
Knowing a member of a religious group is also linked with having a higher favorability rating for them. Every group had higher ratings from those that knew them compared to those who had no personal familiarity with anyone from the group.
Evangelicals jumped from a 49 to a 65 favorable rating, while Buddhists and atheists both jumped more than 20 points from those who didn’t know anyone in the group to those who did.
The survey was conducted in May and June of this year with a sample size of 3,217 with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.2 percentage points.
by Aaron Earls