Pope Francis may be seen as opening up the Catholic church, but what do New Yorkers think about him? Courtney Gross has the results of our exclusive poll.
According to our exclusive NY1/Baruch College City Poll, 68 percent of New York City adults have a favorable opinion of Pope Francis. Just 12 percent have an unfavorable opinion of him, and 15 percent are unsure.
"New Yorkers really like Pope Francis," said Mickey Blum, a pollster with Baruch College. "New Yorkers of all kinds like Pope Francis."
Among New York City Catholics, that number jumps even higher. 88 percent have a favorable opinion of the pontiff.
"This pope seems so different to so many people and so incredibly compassionate that I think that that has appealed to people across all lines," Blum said.
After years of bad press, including a massive sex abuse scandal, one-third of New Yorkers now see the Catholic Church more favorably since Pope Francis became the church's leader. Thirty-five percent feel more favorably, while just 6 percent see the church less favorably. Half of New York City residents do not see the church any differently.
"I feel like he's probably the most accessible pope that has been around in my lifetime, and so my perception of him is that yes, he has opened things up," said one city resident.
"I think he is a really excellent pope from what I know about him," said another. "He's very progressive, and he's forward-thinking."
"Nothing changed with the old pope, so I don't think it will change with the new one," said a third.
Pope Francis may also be boosting some New Yorkers' faith in Catholicism. More than one-third of Catholic New Yorkers now say they feel closer to the church.
"Because I hear him talking about issues that I think actually matter, as opposed to issues that don't affect most people in the world," said one New Yorker.
Most Catholics, some 60 percent, say the current pope made no difference in how close they felt to their faith.