Pope's favorability dips with Americans
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The pope’s favorability rating among Americans has plummeted in the past year and a half, according to a new poll, though he still retains a wholly positive reputation.

Fifty-nine percent of Americans have a favorable view of Pope Francis and 16 percent view him unfavorably in a new Gallup poll. That’s down from a 76 percent favorability rating in February, 2014, but in line with his rating when he was inaugurated in 2013.

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His favorability has fallen significantly among most groups, but especially conservatives, where support for Francis has dropped 27 percentage points since last year. His support among liberals has dropped 14 points, while his favorability among American Catholics dropped from 89 percent to 71 percent.

Art Swift at Gallup writes that the decline among conservatives “may be attributable to the pope's denouncing of 'the idolatry of money' and attributing climate change partially to human activity, along with his passionate focus on income inequality — all issues that are at odds with many conservatives' beliefs.”

The results make Francis more beloved than the previous pope, Pope Benedict XVI. The pope emeritus's favorability rose above Francis’s low only once.

But Francis still has been less popular over his term than St. John Paul II, who preceded Benedict. John Paul's favorability never dipped under 60 percent for the 26 years of his tenure. His high-water mark for favorability, in 1998, was 10 percentage points higher than Francis’s best.