After an election year that stirred up animosity across racial and religious lines, a new survey has found that Americans are actually feeling warmer toward people in nearly every religious group — including Muslims — than they did three years ago.
Muslims and atheists still rank at the bottom of the poll, which asked respondents to rate their attitudes toward religious groups on a "feeling thermometer." However, Muslims and atheists — who have long been targets of prejudice in the United States — received substantially warmer ratings on the scale than they did in a survey in 2014: Muslims rose to 48 percent from 40, and atheists to 50 percent from 41.
The religious groups that ranked highest, as they did three years ago, were Jews (67 percent) and Catholics (66 percent). Mainline Protestants, including Methodists, Presbyterians and Episcopalians, who were measured for the first time, came in at 65 percent. Buddhists rose on the scale to 60 percent from 53, Hindus to 58 from 50, and Mormons to 54 from 48.