A Pew Research Center study found that evangelicals are the only religious groupin the United States that Americans have yet to warm up to in the past few years.
According to the survey, feelings toward evangelicals have stayed stable, but Americans have warmed up more to every other faith group this year than they did in 2014.
Jews, Buddhists, Catholics, Mormons, and Hindus all jumped in their standings with Americas. Atheists and Muslims improved the largest in the ratings’ “feelings thermometer.”
Still, evangelicalism is one of the most-liked religious groups in the country, largely because many of the group’s positive ratings came from evangelicals themselves.
The survey found that 44 percent of Americans feel positively about evangelicals, while 38 percent feel neutral and 18 percent feel negatively. When responses do not include evangelicals, only 32 percent feel positively about the group.
Another part of the survey found that Americans who know an evangelical fell by nine percentage points from 2014 to 2017 to 61 percent today. The groups most likely to not know an evangelical were millennials (45 percent) and African Americans (33 percent).
Another reason for non-evangelicals to know fewer evangelicals may be evangelicals’ reluctance to use the label. It’s been speculated that following the election cycle, evangelicals have been less likely to use the term to describe themselves.
“I still employ the term evangelical within academic circles, but I avoid the term elsewhere,” one Evangelical Free Church pastor admitted.
The Pew study surveyed 4,200 adults in January.
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Publication date: February 16, 2017