Some world leaders begin their tenures with high favorability ratings – only to see their popularity fall over time. But, in the U.S., Pope Francis remains as popular as ever, with seven-in-ten Americans saying their opinion of the pontiff is “very” or “mostly” favorable, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.
When Francis began his papacy in March of 2013, 57% of Americans held a favorable view of him, while 14% held an unfavorable view and 29% couldn’t give him a rating. Now, seven-in-ten Americans express a favorable view of Francis, while 19% express an unfavorable opinion and just 11% say they don’t know enough to be able to rate the pontiff.
Not surprisingly, Pope Francis is even more popular among U.S. Catholics than he is among the public as a whole, with eight-in-ten or more American Catholics routinely giving the pope favorable ratings. Currently, 87% of Catholics express a favorable view of the pope.
Opinions vary widely among non-Catholics. About half (53%) of white evangelical Protestants now view Francis favorably, roughly similar to the 59% who did so in March 2013, when he began his papacy.