Pope Francis can look forward to a warm welcome in the United States this week, from both Catholic and non-Catholic Americans.
A new Rasmussen Reports poll of 1,000 Americans has the Holy Father’s total approval rating at 60 percent, half of which viewed him “Very Favorably." The news comes just one day before his scheduled arrival in Washington, D.C.
The rating is even higher among American Catholics, who gave him a 78 percent approval rating, 48 percent of which reporting a “Very Favorable" view. Sixty-five percent of U.S. Catholics said the Pope has been good for the Church, compared to just 15 percent who believe he’s had a negative impact.
The impressive rating makes him the envy of the less favorably viewed, including Obama, Donald Trump, and, well, most other political figures at this time. Or most times.
Just 23 percent view Pope Francis unfavorably, though this number has doubled since December 2013, when the newly-elected Francis enjoyed a disapproval rating of only 12 percent. Only eight percent of the overall 23 percent reported a “Very Unfavorable" opinion. Some Americans – 17 percent – remained undecided.
The two questions asked by Rasmussen were: “Do you have a very favorable, somewhat favorable, somewhat unfavorable or very unfavorable opinion of Pope Francis?" and “Have Pope Francis’ words and actions been good or bad for the Catholic Church? Or have they have had no impact on the church?"
According to Rasmussen, women view Pope Francis more favorably than men. Older voters were the most likely to report a Very Favorable opinion of the pope.
The Pope is also more popular among Democrats than Republicans, with 58 percent of Democrats reporting their belief that Pope Francis’ words and actions have been good for the Church. This view is shared by 46 percent of Republicans and 42 percent of the politically unaffiliated.
When Time Magazine announced Pope Francis as its Person of the Year in 2013, 23 percent of Americans agreed.
Rasmussen Reports also found that 71 percent of all Americans say their religious faith is important in their daily life, 49 percent of whom consider it Very Important.
Two-out-of-three Americans still believe the central tenets of Christianity, that Jesus Christ was the son of God who was resurrected on Easter Day.
Pope Francis is schedule to arrive in the United States tomorrow, September 22 in Washington D.C.
During his visit, he will be the first Pope to ever address Congress. He is also scheduled to visit New York City, where he will address the United Nations, as well as Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families.
By Mary Rezac