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Survey: Public 'warm' to Jews, Catholics and 'cool' to Muslims and atheists

How Americans feel about religious groups

Published: Wednesday, July 16 2014 8:30 a.m. MDT

"There was no change overall" in the feelings toward Mormons, Campbell added, but there is now an 8-point gap in favorability towards Mormons between Democrats and Republicans. "Right after the 2012 election that gap was even wider, and it's begun to narrow."

Campbell also said the high positive numbers for Jews and some minority religious groups show that being small in numbers doesn't mean a group is destined to be viewed negatively.

"There is something more than just the size of the group that matters here, and it's hopeful for groups that are small in size," he said.

Smith said Pew is interested in the general question of interfaith attitudes.

"Whether it's views of abortion or same-sex marriage or how to vote in presidential elections, people's social and political and cultural views are often bound up with their religious beliefs and practices," he said. "I think it's important (therefore) to understand how religious groups view each other."

Age and race

Age and race also accounted for differences in which faiths received "warm" or "cold" ratings. Among those 65 and older, Jews received a "warmth" score of 68 and Catholics 67, while those age 18-29 gave each group a score of 60.

Buddhists, by contrast, scored 58 among the youngest survey group, which was 11 points higher than the 65 and older group. For Muslims, the difference was even more stark: 18-29-year-olds rated Muslims at 49, while those 65 and up gave only a 32 score.

Whites, at 66, as well as blacks and Hispanics (58 each) give Jews their most positive rating; whites are also most likely (at 43) to rate atheists positively. Blacks, at 68, give evangelicals their highest marks versus 60 from whites and 57 from Hispanics. Muslims get a 49 from blacks, 43 from Hispanics and a 38 from whites.

Email: mkellner@deseretnews.com

Twitter: @Mark_Kellner

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