A new survey that Pew Research Center released on March 15 contains positive news for American Jews and certain, but not all, other faith groups stateside.
Among the 42% of non-Jewish Americans who expressed favorable-unfavorable opinions about Jews, 34% were very or somewhat favorable, while 7% were unfavorable. That positive differential—27 points—was the largest of any faith group in Among non-Catholics, 26% were very or somewhat favorable and 21% were unfavorable towards Catholics (5 points), while more Americans who aren’t Muslim, atheist or Mormon saw those groups as more unfavorable than favorable.
A total of 17% of non-Muslims saw Muslims favorably, compared to 22% unfavorably (a -5 differential), 17% of non-atheists saw atheism at least somewhat favorably compared to 25 unfavorably (-9 differential) and just 14% of non-Mormons had favorable views of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, compared to 26% unfavorable (-12% differential).
“Jews make up such a small portion of the U.S. population—about 2%—that excluding their own views makes little difference in overall public opinion toward Jews,” reported Pew. Indeed, the overall U.S. numbers were 35% favorable and 6% unfavorable about Jews. The Pew analysis is based on a survey of 10,588 U.S. adults, which was conducted between Sept. 13-18, 2022. (The margin of error is plus or minus 1.5 percentage points, according to Pew.)
“The positive public attitude toward Jews may not tell the whole story, however: A 2020 survey of Jewish Americans found perceptions of rising antisemitism in the United States,” added Pew. “And other organizations have reported an increase in antisemitic incidents.”
Overall, Americans held more favorable (30%) than unfavorable views (10%) about mainline Protestants. “Some survey respondents may find it strange or difficult to be asked to rate an entire group of people,” noted Pew, which is why many respondents gave neutral answers. “The patterns are affected in part by the size of the groups asked about since people tend to rate their own religious group positively,” according to the report.
More Jews than others rated their own group positively. Some 81% of Jews were at least somewhat favorable to Jews (a 79-point increase over the 2% who were unfavorable). The differential was 78 points for Mormons (80% positive, 3% negative; some numbers are rounded), 70 for atheists (72% favorable, 2% unfavorable) and 62 for Catholics (66% positive, 4% negative).
Those who know a Jewish person were twice as likely as those who did not to report positive views of Jews: 42% compared to 21%. Among non-Jews who view Jews negatively, about the same percentage know (6%) and don’t know (7%) a Jew. The Pew data also showed that Jews were the only group in the study to “universally receive net positive ratings from all other groups.”
Some 45% of born-again or evangelical Protestants have positive views of Jews (6% are unfavorable). And Jews were the only religious group to get a net positive rating from atheists (+13 percentage points).
“The survey did not include enough interviews with Muslim Americans to accurately measure their views toward Jews or any other group,” said Pew.
Americans with unfavorable views of Jews tend to have the same about Muslims, but those with unfavorable views of Muslims do not necessarily have the same about Jews, according to Pew. Just 4% of U.S. adults have unfavorable views of both Jews and Muslims.
A minuscule 2% had unfavorable views of Jews but not Muslims, while 18% had unfavorable views of Muslims, but not Jews. Pew added: “Both Republicans and Democrats tend to view Jews favorably. About four-in-10 Republicans say they see Jews positively (38%), as do one-third of Democrats (33%). Identical shares view them negatively (6% each).”
Produced in association with Jewish News Syndicate