Catholics and non-Catholics alike have responded in support of the pope.
Pope Francis’s popularity is soaring among U.S. Catholics and non-Catholics alike. A recent survey from Pew Research Center has found that the majority of Americans are in favor of the pontiff. The survey was conducted online between February 2020 and March 2021.
Pew found that 82% of U.S. Catholics have a “favorable view” of Pope Francis and his papacy. Of these, about 6 in 10 (62%) said they hold a “very” or “mostly” favorable view of the pope. This opinion has held firm throughout the world pandemic, only falling by 2% (from 64%) since February 2020.
Opinions of the pope remained “fairly stable” when examined through a Catholic subgroups. When examined through a political lens, both sides of the aisle held an overwhelmingly positive view of Pope Francis. Seventy-three percent of Republican Catholics responded that they support the pope. This figure rose to a resounding 90% among Catholic Democrats.
Even among Protestant congregations, 59% of those surveyed held Pope Francis in high regard. Of these, the group that said they supported the pope the most was White non-evangelical Protestants (70%). Conversely, White Evangelical Protestants were the least likely to support Pope Francis, at 45%.
Pew notes that results from this poll are “not entirely comparable” to those of earlier surveys on the subject, which were taken by phone. They explain that respondents generally decline to answer fewer questions in online surveys. Changes in results from January 2020 (taken by phone) and March 2021 (taken online) could be due to fewer people declining to answer specific questions.