Christianity, Judaism and Buddhism are each positively viewed by Americans, survey results reveal, but individual denominations within Christianity fare less well in public opinion, the YouGov survey showed.
Overall, Christianity has a net “favorability score” of +33 — the highest of any religion surveyed — with 51% viewing Christianity either “very” or “somewhat” favorably and 18% “very” or “somewhat” unfavorably.
The rest either viewed Christianity neutrally or were not sure.
The positive number drops to +15 for “Protestantism” overall, as the Amish have a positive +11 score, Catholicism clocks in at +10, and Presbyterians at +8. The Church of God in Christ, Lutheranism and Methodism each scored +5 favorability ratings, while Anglicanism and the Episcopal Church came in at +3.
Judaism has a net favorability score of +10 — 27% viewing it favorably and 17% unfavorably — while Buddhism scored +11 — 31% versus 20%.
Nonbelief isn’t viewed favorably: agnostics had an unfavorable score of -4, and atheism came in at -13.
Islam had a -24 net favorability rating, which was lower than Wicca (-15), Sikhism (-8), and Falun Gong or Unitarian Universalism (-10 each).
But that wasn’t the bottom.
The religions viewed most unfavorably are the Church of Scientology and Satanism. Each had net favorability scores of -48. Satanism scored a 10% favorable rating versus 58% who rated the religion unfavorably. For Scientology, the numbers were 11% and 59%, respectively.
Several Christian groups had negative perception scores. The Southern Baptist Convention, which has dealt with a rash of sexual abuse revelations in the past two years, has a -5 score, and the National Baptist Convention scored -6.
Several Christian groups that started in the United States had “very unfavorable” ratings from those who responded to the survey.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was viewed as “very unfavorable” by 19%, while the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — a splinter group that maintains the mainstream LDS Church’s former teachings on polygamy — scored even “higher,” with 23% viewing it “very” unfavorably.
Jehovah’s Witnesses drew a 23% very unfavorable rating, while Christian Science was viewed similarly by 21% of those surveyed.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church, whose North American headquarters are in Columbia, Maryland, drew a 14% score in that category.
The YouGov poll comes on the heels of a 2022 survey by Lifeway Research that said most Americans wouldn’t rule out attending a church because of its denominational affiliation.
However, more than half of those who responded to that survey said they wouldn’t visit a church with “Pentecostal” in the name.
Presbyterian, Assemblies of God and Southern Baptist congregations would get a pass from 46% of those responding to that Lifeway poll.
YouGov conducted its survey of 1,000 U.S. adults between Nov. 22 and Nov. 26. The poll had a margin of error at approximately 3%.