At the high point of his popularity, Pope Francis enjoyed a generous approval rating of 78 percent at the end of 2014. Now his popularity is ebbing.
From his election in April 2013, Pope Francis had steadily gained approval among U.S. citizens, starting at a modest 58 percent and slowly but inexorably climbing to 76 percent in February 2014 and culminating in a high of 78 percent at the end of that year. The moral capital Francis had built up seems to have fallen precipitously in recent months, and his approval rating now languishes at just 59 percent, barely more than what it was just after his election.
Among Catholics as well, Francis’ popularity has declined significantly in the past year, from an enviable 89 percent in 2014 to a somewhat more discreet 71 percent in Gallup’s latest poll, a drop of 18 percent.
More important perhaps has been the ideological divide, with Francis losing approval among self-identified conservatives at a far greater pace than among liberals. Though Francis’ approval rating has suffered among all demographic groups, liberals still give him a favorable rating of 68 percent, while conservatives now have dropped below the 50 percent mark, at only 45 percent. While liberals dropped 14 percent in their approval ratings of the Pope in the past year, conservatives fell at nearly double that rate, or 27 percent.
What do you think of the Pope?