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Survey finds Jews, Catholics America’s most-liked religious groups

Despite a contentious U.S. election in which religion played a major role, as well as the continuing scourge of religious-inspired terrorism worldwide, a new survey finds that Americans have warming attitudes towards virtually all major religious groups in the country.

The new Pew Research Center survey, released Wednesday, finds that Jews and Catholics get the highest ratings on a “feeling thermometer,” with a mean rating of 67 and 66 respectively on a thermometer that ranges from 0 to 100.

Mainline Protestants were just behind at 65. Evangelical Christians finished at 61, Buddhists 60, Hindus 58, Mormons 54, atheists 50 and Muslims 48. Even the relatively low ratings for atheists and Muslims, however, represent increases over the last such survey in June 2014.

The increase in positive feelings towards religious groups, according to the authors of the survey, hold true across all major groups, including Democrats and Republicans, men and women, and youth and older adults.

One key finding, however, is that there’s a wider range of opinion among older Americans than youth, with respondents 18-29 giving Muslims a 58 rating while for those 65+, the response was just 44. Older Americans, meanwhile, rate mainline Protestants at 75, while the young only put that group at 59.

The survey was conducted Jan. 9-23, 2017, and thus ahead of President Donald Trump’s controversial executive order on refugees, which many saw as a “Muslim ban.”

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