Evangelical Protestants received the highest percentage of unfavorable views from U.S. adults, according to a Pew Research Center report published March 15.
A plurality U.S. adults expressed a neutral view toward each of the seven faith traditions surveyed: Atheists (43% view them neither favorably nor unfavorably), Jews (43%), Muslims (42%), Mainline Protestants (39%), Mormons (39%) and Catholics (37%). At 29%, Evangelicals had the lowest number of neutral responses.
Jews received the highest level of affirmation, with 35% of respondents saying they held a very or somewhat favorable view. Catholics were the second highest rated faith tradition in the survey at 34% very / somewhat favorable, followed by mainline Protestants (30%), evangelical Christians (28%), Atheists (20%), Muslims (17%) and Mormons (15%).
A majority (60%) of born-again / evangelical Protestants expressed a very / somewhat favorable view of evangelical Christians. When their views are removed from the totals, only 18% of all other respondents expressed a very / somewhat favorable view of evangelical Christians.
Evangelical Christians received the highest percentage of unfavorable responses, with 27% of U.S. adults saying they held a very or somewhat unfavorable view. Mormons were second at 25% very / somewhat unfavorable, followed by Atheists (24%), Muslims (22%), Catholics (18%), mainline Protestants (10%) and Jews (6%).
Atheists had the highest percentage of very unfavorable responses (14%), followed by evangelical Christians (13%). No other faith group had above 10% in very unfavorable responses.
When asked to indicate if they knew anyone who was part of the faith traditions included in the survey, 88% said they knew someone who is Catholic, compared to atheists (71%), evangelical Christians (64%), Jews (64%), mainline Protestants (64%), Muslims (50%) and Mormons (43%).
Evangelical Christians had the highest very / somewhat unfavorable views (35%) among those who said they knew an evangelical Christian, and they had the second highest very / somewhat unfavorable views (29%) among those who said they did not.
Jews had the highest very / somewhat favorable views both among respondents who said they knew someone who was Jewish (42%) and among those who did not (21%).
“Across the board, those who know someone from a religious group (but are not members of that group themselves) are more likely than those who do not know someone in the group to offer an opinion of the group – and usually to express more positive feelings,” the report said.