According to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, the majority of Americans have a favorable impression of Pope Francis.
Fifty-five percent of respondents said they see him in a positive light, with thirty-four percent viewing him very positively. Twenty-four percent of voters said they were neutral, while fifteen percent said they could not decide. Only six percent of respondents viewed him negatively.
Francis has not reached the heights of John Paul II, who received a 65% positive rating in 1998, with only 7% viewing him negatively, but Francis seems more popular than his immediate predecessor, Pope Benedict, who garnered a 30% positive rating, with 17% of respondents seeing him negatively in a February 2013 NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
Francis, who became Pope in March 2013, is more popular with American Catholics than he is with the general public; 74% approve of him, with a meager 3% disapproving.
Some American political figures inspire more polarity among voters, including Bill Clinton (56% positive, 26% negative), Hillary Clinton (44% positive, 36% negative), President Barack Obama (44% positive, 43% negative), and Jeb Bush (23% positive, 34% negative).
Francis, with his non-confrontational approach toward leftists, received a 62% rating among them, as opposed to Benedict, a staunch traditionalist, whose ratings among leftists was 25% positive, 32% negative. But among conservatives, Francis’ approval rating drops to 53%.