CBS NEWS POLL For release: Thursday, March 27, 2014 6:30 pm EDT Views of Pope Francis and the Catholic Church
March 20-23, 2014
Pope Francis receives high favorable ratings from U.S. Catholics, and most (64%) think he has helped the Catholic Church. 27% think his leadership has been mixed. Not a
single Catholic in the poll said Pope Francis’ leadership has hurt the Church.
For the first time in CBS News Polls, more Catholics now say the Church is in touch with
the needs of Catholics (48%) than say it’
s out of touch (43%). The Pope is viewed positively by many Americans overall too and they are more apt to view him as a humanitarian leader for all, not just Catholics. Amid the meeting between President Barack Obama and the Pope at the Vatican, Americans were asked which of the two they would prefer to meet, 49% pick Mr. Obama, while 43% choose Pope Francis. Most Catholics pick the Pope.
One year after becoming Pope, 68% of Catholics have a favorable opinion of Pope Francis, while a mere 1% view him unfavorably. His popularity is widespread among Catholics: similar majorities of both men (68%) and women (67%) and older and younger Catholics view him favorably. The Pope is also viewed positively among Americans overall (46%), although many
don’t know enough about him to offer an opinion.
Views of Pope Francis
(All Americans) Total Catholics Favorable 46% 68% Not favorable 3 1
50 32 When compared to previous Pontiffs early on in their papacies, Pope Francis
favorable rating among Catholics is higher than those of his immediate predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI (40%) as well as Pope John Paul II (59%). However, over
Pope John Paul’s
long tenure, his favorability rose and reached 92% upon his death.
Pope Francis vs. Past Popes
(Among U.S. Catholics) Now 4/2006 8/1987 Francis Benedict XVI John Paul II Favorable 68% 40% 59% Not favorable 1 1 5
32 54 35 Pope Francis is viewed as more than the leader of the Catholic Church by many Americans. 46% think of him as a moral and humanitarian leader for all people, regardless of religion, while