28 March 2016, The Tablet

Pope Francis is world’s most popular leader, poll finds

The survey finds the Pope is more popular than President Obama

Pope Francis is the most popular world leader according to a new opinion poll by WIN/Gallup.

The survey, taken by 1,000 people in 64 countries respectively, puts the popularity of the Pope above US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as well as British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande.

Francis achieved a net score of +41 – the difference between favourable and unfavourable opinions – 11 points ahead of closest rival President Obama, who achieved +30.

Citizens in countries around the world were asked: “Irrespective of your own religion, do you have a very favourable, somewhat favourable, somewhat unfavourable or very unfavourable opinion of Pope Francis?”

Five out of 10 respondents (54 per cent) hold favourable views compared with 12 per cent unfavourable.

The regions where the Pope is held in highest esteem are perhaps unsurprising: his Latin American homeland, North America and Europe. Portugal has the highest number of individuals with a positive view of the Pope, followed by the Philippines.

Segmented by religious belief, Roman Catholics view the Pope most favourably, followed by Jews and then Protestants. Only 28 per cent of Muslims and 33 per cent of Buddhists see Francis in a positive light, but most of the Muslims and Buddhists surveyed had not heard of him.

The majority of atheists and agnostics polled view him favourably, according to the results.

WIN/Gallup International President Jean-Marc Leger, said: "Pope Francis is a leader who transcends his own religion. Our study shows that an ample majority of citizens of the world, of different religious affiliations and across regions, have a favourable image of the Pope."

People from Algeria, Palestine and Turkey were least likely to like the Pope, according to the results released on 24 March.



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