A survey by the Pew Research Center released on Wednesday found that far more Americans have a positive rather than negative opinion of Jews.
The poll, noting that Jews only make up about 2 percent of the US population, found that 35 percent of Americans expressed very or somewhat favorable attitudes toward Jews, with only six percent expressing unfavourable attitudes.
Over half of Americans responded they felt neutral about or did not know enough to rate Jews (58 percent). A similar number said the same about mainline Protestants (59 percent), Muslims (59 percent) and Mormons (59 percent).
“The positive public attitude toward Jews may not tell the whole story, however,” Pew research associate Patricia Tevington wrote. “A 2020 survey of Jewish Americans found perceptions of rising antisemitism in the United States, and other organizations have reported an increase in antisemitic incidents.”
Pew said the survey’s overall patterns were compatible with previous studies showing “relatively warm public attitudes” toward Jews. The same attitudes were found toward Catholics and mainline Protestants, but more negative responses were given on opinions toward Muslims, Mormons and atheists.
Pew found that Americans generally rate their own religious groups more favourably. Eight-in-ten American Jews (81 percent) rated Jews very or somewhat favourably. Only 2 percent expressed negative views.
The poll found that 64 percent of American adults know someone who is Jewish. Four-in-ten of these people expressed positive views of Jews, double the number among non-Jews who do not personally know anyone who is Jewish.
“Among all the religious groups asked about, only Jews universally receive net positive ratings from all other groups,” Pew said.
“While 81 percent of Jews rate their own group favorably, Christians across various subgroups also rate Jews much more favorably than unfavorably.”
The study found that 45 percent of “born again” Protestants or evangelical Christians rate Jews favourably, compared with only 6 percent who do not.
Jews were the only religious group to receive a favourable rating from atheists. “[American] Jews also are more likely to express positive than negative views toward atheists,” Pew added.
“Moreover, most Americans who hold an unfavorable view of Jews also hold an unfavorable view of Muslims, but most people who hold an unfavorable view of Muslims do not express negative views of Jews.”
The study also examined favourability of religious groups through politics. It found that Republicans and Democrats view Jews overall favourably, with 38 percent of Republicans and 33 percent of Democrats holding a positive opinion of Jews. Only 6 percent in each party held negative views of Jews.