Jews and Christians are viewed most positively in the U.S., according to a new poll from the Pew Research Center.
A scale was created for the survey called the “feeling thermometer,” in which respondents were asked to rate their views of religious groups from 0 (the coldest, negative feelings) to 100 (the warmest, positive feelings).
Jews (63 degrees), Catholics (62 degrees) and Evangelical Christians (61 degrees) were rated most warmly. On the other end of the scale, atheists (41) and Muslims (40) were received most coldly.
In the middle were Buddhists (53), Hindus (50) and Mormons (48).
Not surprisingly, each group rated themselves most highly while expressing a range of emotions about other religious traditions.
White Evangelical respondents, for example, were very positive about their tradition (82), somewhat positive about Jews (69) and Catholics (63), and negative about Muslims (30) and atheists (25).
“The chilliness between evangelicals and atheists goes both ways. Atheists give evangelical Christians a cold rating of 28 on average,” Pew commented. Jews did not feel warmly toward white Evangelicals, giving them a 34 average rating.
Political affiliation influenced the responses.
Republicans expressed positive feelings for Evangelical Christians (71), Jews (67) and Catholics (66) while noting negative feelings for atheists (34) and Muslims (33).
By comparison, Democrats had less disparity in their ratings, giving lukewarm ratings to all groups—from a high of 62 for Jews to a low of 44 for Mormons.
“With the exception of Jews, all of the non-Christian groups asked about receive warmer ratings from Democrats and Democratic leaners than they do from Republicans,” the report noted.
Familiarity with someone from another religious tradition had a positive correlation with warmer feelings toward that group.
“Those who say they know someone who is Jewish, for example, give Jews an average thermometer rating of 69, compared with a rating of 55 among those who say they do not know anyone who is Jewish….Similarly, Muslims get a neutral rating (49 on average) from those who know a Muslim, and a cooler rating (35) from those who do not know a Muslim,” Pew commented.
The full report can be found here.