A majority of U.S. adults across all categories continue to view Pope Francis favorably, according to the Pew Research Center.
Eighty percent of Catholics hold a favorable view, compared to 72 percent of white, mainline Protestants and 53 percent of white evangelicals.
Since his election, the pope’s favorability rating has trended upward – moving from 57 percent in March 2013 to 70 percent in January 2017.
The most significant change in perspective has taken place among the “nones.”
“Among … those who describe their religious affiliation as atheist, agnostic or ‘nothing in particular’ – 71 percent have a ‘very’ or ‘mostly’ favorable view of the pope, substantially higher than the 39 percent who felt positively about Francis in March 2013,” Pew reported.
In September 2015, just prior to the pontiff’s U.S. visit, Gallup reported a 60 percent approval rating of the pope.
That survey noted an increase in favorability among Millennials, stating, “The perceived influence of the Pope among younger Americans stands in stark contrast to the trends toward religious and church disengagement among Millennials.”
This is a significant data point since a majority of “nones” are from this generation.
The full Pew Research Center report is available here.