March 6 (UPI) — Americans still have a favorable opinion of Pope Francis after five years, but it appears some Republicans are growing weary of his leadership, a new survey Tuesday showed.
The Pew Research poll found that 34 percent of American Catholics see the pope as being “too liberal,” while 24 percent see consider him too naive — an increase of 19 and 15 percent over the 2016 survey, respectively.
The poll said the results are “especially true” among Catholics who are Republican or who lean Republican. Conservatives are more likely than Democrats to see Francis as being “too liberal.”
Pope Francis, however, remains popular among U.S. Catholics — with 84 percent support. The results are similar to a 2014 survey that found 85 percent of American Catholics to have a positive opinion of the pope.
Roughly 90 percent of U.S. Catholics describe the pontiff as “compassionate” and “humble,” while nearly 60 percent believe he represents a “major change” for the better for the Catholic Church.
Although the pope’s approval is greater, the poll showed there’s no indication there are more American who identify Catholic and no sign more are attending Mass since Pope Francis became Catholic leader in 2013.
However, there have been other changes — including a growing number of U.S. Catholics who favor allowing gays and lesbians to legally marry, which is an increase of 13 percent.
Most Catholics said Pope Francis has done “at least a little” to make the Church more accepting of homosexuality.
Compared to other popes, including John Paul II and Benedict XVI, Pope Francis has been viewed more favorably.
Pew conducted the national survey in January among over 1,500 people nationwide. It has a margin of error of nearly 3 points.