U.S. Catholics love Pope Francis, poll says

U.S. Catholics love Pope Francis, poll says

U.S. Catholics love Pope Francis, poll says

Pope Francis blesses hundreds of people gathered a few yards away on the U.S. side., as he stands near the U.S.-Mexico border fence along the Rio Grande, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016. (Credit: AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia.)

A new poll shows that Pope Francis's favorability has risen among adult Catholics to just above what it was a year ago, after the U.S. visit. The rating has dipped slightly among U.S. adults in general but experts say it's because the pope has not been as 'publicly active' this year.

ST. LEO — A new poll shows that Pope Francis’s favorability dipped slightly among U.S. adults in general, but has risen among adult Catholics to just above what it was a year ago.

The poll, by St. Leo University Polling Institute in Florida, asked 1,001 respondents if their opinion of the pope was strongly favorable, somewhat favorable, somewhat unfavorable, or not at all favorable.

The pope’s popularity dipped slightly from 65.5 percent in September to 62.6 percent in November. Among Catholic adults, his 85.8 percent favorability was up from the 84.2 percent two months before but down from the 87.5 percent rating he was given in June.

Marc Pugliese, an assistant professor of theology and religion at St. Leo University, said the bump might be from the attention to the pope as the Year of Mercy was coming to a close.

The pope’s highest favorability rating, from this polling group, was at 75.8 percent in September 2015 just after his visit to the United States.

The surveys were conducted online from November 27-30 and the survey has margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

“The pope has not been as ‘publicly active’ since September 2016 as he had been the previous year,” Pugliese said as a possible explanation for the slight decline in the pope’s favorability rating among the general population.

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