The apparently tireless Pew researchers continue to track the popularity of the "newish" Pope Francis. According to their latest phone survey, the Pope Francis honeymoon shows no sign of ending even two years into his pontificate. In fact his popularity among Catholics is only building. He is rated favorably by over nine-out-of-ten Catholics they surveyed—and "very favorably" by six out of ten.
That compares well to St. John Paul II's consistent popularity among Catholics. In fact those who perceive Pope Francis "very favorably" do so at a higher percentage than that enjoyed by John Paul II (57 percent to 53 percent).
More surprising is that Pope Francis' popularity among non-Catholics also continues to build. Pew reports: "Among U.S. adults overall (Catholic and non-Catholic), seven-in-ten see the pope favorably, up 13 points since the days immediately following his election in March 2013." That favorability tracks across Protestant denominations (six-out-of-ten view him favorably) and Pew reports that even two-thirds of the religiously unaffiliated share the same positive Francis vibe.
"Three-quarters of white mainline Protestants (74 percent) say they have a favorable view of Pope Francis, compared with 65 percent in March 2013."
Too bad he can't run for office. He'd be a dream candidate apparently. Pew says: "Both men and women give Francis a positive rating, and Republicans and Democrats are united in their esteem for him."
The survey adds, "The share of Americans who see Francis unfavorably has remained relatively steady, and is now 15 percent." Who are those grouches anyway? At least they're consistent.
Here's a result that might bear further scrutiny: Pew reports that Pope Francis "is viewed more favorably by Americans over the age of 65 than among those under 50, but even those in the latter category express mostly positive opinions about Pope Francis." Vatican II era U.S. Catholics perhaps most favorably inclined to Francis' leadership and message?
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