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CNN Poll: Pope Francis' favorability plummets

After new sexual abuse allegations against Catholic priests and criticism of Pope Francis' leadership on the...

Posted: Sep 12, 2018 6:11 PM
Updated: Sep 12, 2018 6:11 PM

After new sexual abuse allegations against Catholic priests and criticism of Pope Francis' leadership on the issue, his favorability in the US has dropped substantially in a new CNN Poll conducted by SSRS.

Only half of Americans -- 48% -- say they have a favorable view of the Pope, down from two-thirds who said the same in January 2017 and 72% who said so in December 2013, a few months after he was first elevated to the position.

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Papacy and the Pope

Pope Francis

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The poll was conducted before news that the Pope has called an unprecedented meeting of top officials in the church over the sexual abuse scandal, scheduled for February.

Related: Cardinal Wuerl to dicsuss possible resignation

Specifically among US Catholics, his ratings have fallen from 83% favorability a year and a half ago to 63% now -- a 20-point drop.

Among Americans over the age of 45, favorable views have sunk 24 points, from 68% to 44%, while those under the age of 45 have only had a 10-point decrease.

There has been a slightly steeper decline among women (down 20 points, to 51% favorability) than among men (down 15 points, to 45% favorability). Democrats also lost positive views on the current leader of the Catholic church, from 79% favorability in 2017 to 57% now. Republicans had a smaller drop, due to their lower ratings of Francis to begin with, at only 54% in early 2017 (and 36% now).

The CNN Poll was conducted by SSRS from Sept. 6 through 9 among a random national sample of 1,003 adults reached on landlines or cellphones by a live interviewer. Results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points; it is larger for subgroups.

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