Pope Francis, Mr. Popularity: Winner in polls, Time Person of the Year


Pope Francis, who’s become known for being frugal and down to earth, must be blushing. The pontiff’s Q rating is soaring with his status as Time’s Person of the Year and the results of two new popularity polls.

U.S. Catholics approve of the pope more than they do the Catholic Church itself, according to an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released Wednesday. Of Americans polled, 57% held a positive view of the pope -- 34% were very positive. And only 5% had a negative view of Francis.

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Meanwhile, the Catholic Church got a 36% positive rating and a 17% negative rating.

A second poll released Wednesday, from ABC News/Washington Post, asked American Catholics how they felt about the pope and found a whopping 92% had a favorable opinion. Even non-Catholics gave Francis the thumbs up, with 69% of all Americans (eight in 10 aren’t Catholic) having a favorable view.

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But, NBC noted, Pope Francis -- who memorably said of gay people, “Who am I to judge?” -- has irritated some conservatives. In the NBC/WSJ poll, Francis’ approval rating sags to 45% among conservatives, 48% among tea party members. (We know how Rush Limbaugh feels about the pope.)

Time magazine editors selected Pope Francis for its Person of the Year, saying he had the greatest impact on the world, for good or bad, in 2013. Who came in second? NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

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