- The Washington Times - Friday, March 6, 2015

Pope Francis has a sky-high rating in the U.S., including among an unlikely group — atheists and agnostics.

A Pew poll released Thursday revealed that the head of the Catholic church has broad support among the religious and non-religious alike.

Two-thirds of religious “nones,” or 68 percent, have a favorable view of the pope, up from 39 percent immediately following the pope’s election, the poll found. And the share of religious “nones” who view Francis unfavorably has dropped from 27 percent to 16 percent over the last two years.

The same poll found that on his second anniversary as pope, the Argentinian’s popularity is beginning to rival Saint John Paul II.

Nine of 10 U.S. Catholics now have a favorable view of Pope Francis, including nearly six in 10 who have a “very favorable” view, according to the poll. The pope’s favorability rating among U.S. Catholics is comparable to Pope John Paul II’s and higher than those for Pope Benedict XVI.

The Pew poll showed the pope’s popularity was minimally affected by a number of other factors, including “gender, ethnicity, political orientation or age.”


PHOTOS: Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'


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