Pew Survey Finds Jews to Be America's Favorite Religious Group

The least favorite religious group are Muslims, who are even more disliked than atheists.

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Church worshippers dressed as angels.Credit: Bloomberg

The highly-regarded Pew Research Center on Wednesday published the results of a survey on how Americans feel about different religious groups. It found that the most popular religious group in America is the Jews.

A mammoth, nationally representative sample of 3,217 Americans – which would include only about 2 percent Jewish respondents – gave Jews a 63 rating out of a possible 100. Second were the Catholics, with a 62.

Out of the eight religious groups rated, including atheists – who are notoriously disliked in America – Muslims finished last with a rating of 40, lower than the atheists' 41.

The Pew survey asked eight groups of respondents – white evangelicals, white mainline Protestants, black Protestants, Catholics, Jews, atheists, agnostics and believers in "nothing in particular" – to rate their feelings toward eight groups – Jews, Catholics, evangelical Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Mormons, atheists and Muslims – on a scale of 0 to 100, with 0 being "coolest" and 100 being "warmest."

When dividing the scale into thirds – warmest, middle and coolest – the survey found that 10 percent of respondents were cool toward Jews, while 41 percent were toward Muslims.

The survey also found that while white evangelical Protestants gave Jews a 69 rating – the highest rating the Jews got from anyone but themselves (89) – Jews rated evangelicals lowest of all at 34, just below Muslims (35).

After Jews and white evangelicals, the warmest views toward Jews were evinced by white mainline Protestants (63), followed by Catholics and atheists (61), black Protestants (59), and agnostics and "nothing in particular" types at 58.

Jews did better among whites (66) than among blacks and Hispanics (58 each). Muslims did relatively the best among blacks (49), while getting a 43 from Hispanics and a 38 from whites.

Democrats gave their highest rating to Jews (62), but Republicans gave Jews a 67, reserving their highest mark, 71, for evangelicals. Democrats put Muslims near the bottom with a 47, while Republicans rated Muslims last at 33, even below atheists, whom they gauged at 34.

The survey further found that younger Americans, who, on the whole, are much less Christian than their elders, are also much less polarized in their views of Jews and Muslims. While Americans ages 18-to-29 give Jews a 60 rating and Muslims a 49, Americans age 65 and older rate Jews at 68 and Muslims at 32.