9/21: American Opinion: The Papal Visit & U.S. Relations with Cuba

Pope Francis will arrive in the United States tomorrow, following his trip to Cuba.  So, what do Americans think of the Holy Father?  And, what are their attitudes toward the United States’ relationship with Cuba?

A majority of Americans, 51%, including nearly half of Latinos, 49%, have a positive opinion of Pope Francis.  But, the Pontiff is not viewed negatively by Americans.  Rather, notable proportions of residents, including Latinos, do not have an opinion one way or the other, or do not know enough about Pope Francis to weigh in.  During his visit, nearly half of Americans, including Latinos, would prefer Pope Francis speak about social issues and economic policy and not just about religion and faith.

Most American Catholics have a favorable impression of the Holy Father including more than eight in ten Catholics who practice their faith.  In fact, a majority of practicing Catholics believe Pope Francis has made them feel closer to their faith.

When it comes to the United States’ relationship with Cuba, more than six in ten Americans, approve of opening up diplomatic relations with the country.  This now includes more than two in three Latinos who share this view, an increase from a poll conducted earlier this year.  Many residents and Latinos, alike, also support lifting the U.S. embargo against Cuba to permit travel to the nation.  Latinos are more interested than Americans, as a whole, to want to personally travel to the country.

Complete September 21, 2015 MSNBC/Telemundo/Marist Poll of the United States

Poll Points:  Perceptions of Pope Francis

  • 51% of Americans, including 49% of Latinos, have a positive impression of Pope Francis.  Less than one in ten Americans, 9%, and Latinos, 7%, has a negative impression of the Holy Father.  More than one in five residents, 27%, including 28% of Latinos has neither a positive nor negative opinion of Pope Francis.
  • 68% of Catholic Latinos have a favorable view of the Holy Father, including 75% of Catholic Latinos who practice their faith.
  • 49% of Americans would like Pope Francis to address social and economic policy during his upcoming trip to the United States 36% say he should focus entirely on religion and faith.  The views of Latinos reflect those of the overall public.  48% of Latinos report Pope Francis should speak to social issues and economic policy while 38% say he should stick to religion and faith.
  • A majority of Catholics, 51%, want Pope Francis to address more than just religion and their faith.  Practicing Catholics divide.  47% would like the Pontiff to speak to broader issues, and 45% believe he should address only religion and faith.
  • 45% of American Catholics report Pope Francis has made them feel closer to their faith, including 53% of practicing Catholics.  Among Catholic Latinos, nearly half, 49%, say they have a stronger bond with their faith because of Pope Francis, including 57% of Catholic Latinos who practice their faith.

Poll Points:  Diplomatic Relations with Cuba

Marist Poll Methodology

Nature of the Sample and Complete Tables