SAYit Blog
New Zealanders' views on religious groups

Last month, in an online public poll, we asked 1000 people to give a rating of how they feel about eight different religious groups

The question was based off a study run by PEW Research Center in the United States in January 2017. These results can be found here :

Respondents were asked to rate a variety of groups on a "feeling thermometer" ranging from 0 to 100 where 0 degrees means as cold and negative as possible and 100 degrees means as warm and positive as possible.

Tied for highest warm feelings were Atheists and Buddhists (both averaged 64 degrees). This was followed by Jewish, Protestants, Hindu and Catholic (58-62 degrees). The two lowest groups were Muslims (50 degrees) and Mormons (47 degrees).

NZ ratings for atheists were distinctly higher than the US where they were on 50 degrees (the second lowest rating in the US, 2 points higher than Muslims). The next biggest difference was for Catholics, the US gave them an average rating of 58 degree, 8 degrees lower than NZ’s average rating.

'We'd like to get your feelings toward a number of groups on a “feeling thermometer.” A rating of 0 degrees means you feel as cold and negative as possible. A rating of 100 degrees means you feel as warm and positive as possible. You would rate the group at 50 degrees if you don’t feel particularly positive or negative toward the group. How do you feel toward…'

Demographic differences

Females were generally warmer for every group
Older respondents were cooler towards Muslims and Atheists but much warmer towards Protestants:

  • Muslims averaged 54 degrees amongst 18-29s and 45 degrees amongst those over 60
  • Atheists averaged 68 degrees amongst 18-29s and 59 degrees amongst those over 60
  • Protestants averaged 53 degrees amongst 18-29s and 67 degrees amongst those over 60

Results are again from a UMR online SAYit poll of n=1000 nationally representative New Zealanders conducted between the 28th February and 20th March 2017. The margin of error for a 50% with 95% confidence is +/- 3.1%.

What do you think?