Recent Gallup poll results revealed a complex picture of Pope Francis’s popularity among Americans and U.S. Catholics. While the pontiff still enjoys considerable favor, there has been a notable increase in those holding unfavorable views.

As of December 2023, 58% of Americans view Pope Francis favorably, mirroring the approval rating he received at the start of his papacy in 2013. However, the poll highlights a rising disapproval, with 30% of Americans now holding an unfavorable view of the Pope, marking a significant increase from the past.

Among U.S. Catholics, the scenario is slightly different. Seventy-seven percent view Francis positively, which, despite being a substantial majority, shows a decline from previous years. Notably, the unfavorable rating among this group has reached 17%, a record high.

This trend seems to reflect broader societal shifts.

“Conservative American Catholics view Francis least favorably,” the Gallup report indicates. Only 42% of conservatives express approval, compared to 70% of liberals and 66% of moderates. This disparity points to differing views on the Pope’s stance on various issues, including same-sex unions and environmental concerns.

The poll, encompassing a sample of 1,013 adults from across the U.S., also found that the Vatican’s recent announcement on blessing same-sex couples didn’t significantly impact these ratings. This suggests that the Pope’s overall perception is shaped by a broader range of factors.

In comparison to his predecessors, Francis remains more popular than Pope Benedict XVI, whose approval peaked at 40% among Americans. However, he doesn’t reach the heights of favorability enjoyed by Pope John Paul II, whose approval once soared to 86%.

Nearly 11 years into his tenure, Pope Francis maintains strong approval ratings, but faces challenges, especially among conservative Catholics in the U.S.

Editorial credit: Alessia Pierdomenico /
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