- Tools for journalists
A Pew Research Center survey has sought to gauge public opinion on Muslims and Jews, immigrants and immigration, and nationalism and national identity in 15 Western European countries.
What this work is about
A new Pew Research Center survey has sought to gauge public opinion on Muslims and Jews, immigrants and immigration, and nationalism and national identity in 15 Western European countries. Attitudes on nationalism, immigration and religious minorities are closely connected with one another. For example, those who say Islam is incompatible with their country’s values and culture are also more likely to favor restricting immigration. And those who express negative views of Muslims are also more likely to express negative views of Jews. These associations allowed researchers to combine 22 individual questions probing these views into a 10-point scale of Nationalist, anti-Immigration and anti-Minority views (NIM). The higher an individual scores on the scale, the higher their nationalist, anti-immigrant and anti-minority sentiment.
Generally, most Western Europeans tend to score on the lower half of the NIM scale (less than 5 points out of the possible 10). But there are wide variations by country: Italians are especially likely to score above 5, while Swedes score lower, on average, than people in any other country surveyed. Moreover, both church-attending and non-practicing Christians are more likely than religiously unaffiliated adults to score high on the NIM. That is, Christian identity – irrespective of the level of religious observance – is associated with higher levels of nationalist, anti-immigration and anti-minority sentiment.
Why we liked it
This work shows the influence of religious and personal beliefs on some of the most critical issues Europe is currently facing: nationalism and immigration. It also shows how complex and sometimes contradictory the relationship between Europeans, religion and immigration is.