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Poll Shows US Catholics Have Higher Opinion of Church Than Last Year

Slight Decrease in Pope’s Popularity

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While a new Saint Leo University poll shows Americans’ favorable opinion of the Catholic Church remains almost the same as in November, the public’s opinion of the Church’s leader Pope Francis dipped.

As part of a Catholic university, founded on Benedictine traditions, the Saint Leo University Polling Institute (http://polls.saintleo.edu) conducts surveys on topics that affect Catholics and the public’s opinion of Pope Francis. The most recent poll was conducted online from February 17 through February 22, among 1,000 total respondents nationally.

Overall favorable opinion (strongly and somewhat favorable) of the Catholic Church in the United States was 43.6 percent in February 2020—up from 42.0 percent in November 2019. As the poll has an associated margin of error of +/- 3.0 percentage points, the results are statistically the same. In April 2019, the favorable opinion measured at 40.1 percent.

Among Catholics, the favorable opinion (strongly and somewhat) was recorded at 73.5 percent, which is up from 69.3 percent in November 2019 and increased significantly from 57.1 percent in April 2019.

The favorability rating for Pope Francis decreased to 52.2 percent from 56.6 percent in November 2019 and from 57.9 percent in April 2019. The pontiff garnered a favorability rating of 55.6 percent in the February 2019 poll, 44.7 percent in October 2018, and 64.4 percent in August 2018.

Among Catholics nationally, the pope’s favorable opinion rating is 74.6 percent, down from 78.1 percent in November 2019.

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