A recent poll suggests that Pope Francis is more popular than nearly all political world leaders. The poll, conducted by WIN/Gallup International, says that Catholics and Jews are the Pope’s biggest supporters.
“Irrespective of your religion, do you have a very favorable, somewhat favorable, somewhat unfavorable or very unfavorable opinion of Pope Francis?” read the poll, reported BBC.
The Pope’s appeal stretched beyond traditional supporters. Over 50 percent of Protestants and most atheists surveyed say they have a favorable view of Francis.
The pontiff enjoyed the most support in the Philippines and Portugal, out of 64 countries surveyed. Francis’s approval rate in the countries was 93 percent and 94 percent, respectively.
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Pope Francis is viewed much more highly than other high-profile Western leaders, according to the poll. The Pope has 41 percent more support than President Barack Obama, and a higher approval rating than German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The poll comes after Pope Francis has spearheaded the reform wing of the Vatican, creating a populist image, reported CNN.
In July 2015, the Pope embarked on a tour of predominantly Catholic South America, during which he visited slums and held meetings with political leaders. The Pope spoke out against exploitative business practices, calling excessive desire for money “the devil’s dung,” and urging widespread economic reform.
“Certainly every culture needs economic growth and the creation of wealth,” said the Pope. "I ask them not to yield to an economic model which is idolatrous, which needs to sacrifice human lives on the altar of money and profit."
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The Pope also formally apologized for the “grave sins” of the Catholic Church during the age of global colonialism, pledging the Vatican’s commitment to human rights. Francis also led prayers in the indigenous language of Guarani, becoming the first ever Pope to do so.
WIN/Gallup head Jean-Marc Leger spoke regarding his organization’s poll.
“Pope Francis is a leader who transcends his own religion,” said Leger. "Our study shows that an ample majority of citizens of the world, of different religious affiliations across regions, have a favorable image of the Pope."