How Americans Feel About Religious Groups, Pew 2014

Sponsor(s): Pew Research Center

Principal Investigator(s): Greg Smith, Besheer Mohamed, Jessica Martinez, Elizabeth Sciupac, Katherine Ritchey, Alan Cooperman

Study Dates: May 30 - June 30, 2014

Key Findings:

Pew Research Center report issued in July, 2014 summarized the results of a survey completed in June, 2014 with members of Pew's American Trends Panel.  Report focused on perceptions of major religious groups using a "thermometer" rating scale.

"Jews, Catholics and evangelical Christians are viewed warmly by the American public. When asked to rate each group on a 'feeling thermometer' ranging from 0 to 100 – where 0 reflects the coldest, most negative possible rating and 100 the warmest, most positive rating – all three groups receive an average rating of 60 or higher (63 for Jews, 62 for Catholics and 61 for evangelical Christians). And 44% of the public rates all three groups in the warmest part of the scale (67 or higher)."

"Buddhists, Hindus and Mormons receive neutral ratings on average, ranging from 48 for Mormons to 53 for Buddhists. The public views atheists and Muslims more coldly; atheists receive an average rating of 41, and Muslims an average rating of 40. Fully 41% of the public rates Muslims in the coldest part of the thermometer (33 or below), and 40% rate atheists in the coldest part."

Detailed analysis, tables and methodology in Complete Study Report: How Americans Feel About Religious Groups: Jews, Catholics & Evangelicals Rated Warmly, Atheists and Muslims More Coldly.

Among the many interesting findings: "Evangelicals also hold very positive views of Jews, with white evangelical Protestants giving Jews an average thermometer rating of 69. Only Jews themselves rate Jews more positively. But that warmth is not mutual: despite evangelicals’ warm feelings toward Jews, Jews tend to give evangelicals a much cooler rating (34 on average)."


Pew Research Center survey conducted May 30-June 30, 2014, among 3,217 adults who are part of Pew Research’s new American Trends Panel, a nationally representative panel of randomly selected U.S. adults (see below under Sample Notes).

Sample Size: 3,217

Sample Notes:

The American Trends Panel (ATP), created by the Pew Research Center, is a nationally representative panel of randomly selected U.S. adults living in households.

Respondents who self-identify as internet users (representing 89% of U.S. adults) participate in the panel via monthly self-administered Web surveys, and those who do not use the internet participate via telephone or mail. The panel is being managed by Abt SRBI.

Data in this report are drawn from the June wave of the panel, conducted May 30-June 30, 2014 among 3,217 respondents (2,849 by web and 368 by mail). The margin of sampling error for the full sample of 3,217 respondents is plus or minus 2.2 percentage points (see page 12 of Complete PDF for details on sample sizes among subgroups, as well as margin of error (MOE) for multiple subgroups in the Panel.  Jewish participants, for example, appear to number 100, with a +/- 12.6% MOE.

The  Panel members were originally recruited from the 2014 Political Polarization and Typology Survey, a large (n=10,013) national landline and cellphone random digit dial (RDD) survey conducted January 23rd to March 16th, 2014, in English and Spanish. At the end of that survey, respondents were invited to join the panel. The invitation was extended to all respondents who use the internet (from any location) and a random sub-sample of respondents who do not use the internet.

Of the 10,013 adults interviewed, 9,809 were invited to take part in the panel. A total of 5,338 agreed to participate and provided either a mailing address or an email address to which a welcome packet, a monetary incentive and future survey invitations could be sent.

Panelists also receive a small monetary incentive after participating in each wave of the survey.

Study Notes:

The complete PDF can be accessed via Pew's website via link on the left; it includes the original Pew detailed tables (4 pages), and the Topline (2 pages).  Downloading the complete report PDF gives the user all originally published materials.

On the right side of this page, a modified series of detailed tables requested by the DataBank is available to be downloaded.  

The revised tables cover most of the same data as in the original detailed tables, but add: (a) more detail on political party affiliation, (b) U.S. region of residence, (c) income and (d) frequency of attending religious services into cross-tabular analysis of "mean thermometer ratings" given to the various religious groups.

In addition, the last table, on pp. 5-6, displays the standard deviation around the mean thermometer ratings that are found on pp. 1-2.  

The DataBank thanks Greg Smith, Pew's Associate Director of Research, for running these additional analyses.


Language: English


Documentation, Questionnaires and Frequencies

» Detailed Tables (Revised by Pew) for Berman Jewish DataBank

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