As Pope Francis heads to the United States, NY1 is taking a closer look at what New Yorkers think about him. In the latest look at our NY1/Baruch poll, we examine whether they support some of the more liberal views the pope has expressed on issues ranging from immigration to climate change. Courtney Gross reports.
Ahead of landing in Washington D.C., Pope Francis has not shied away from the world of politics.
He called climate change a principal challenge facing humanity. Children crossing over the border from Mexico was dubbed "a humanitarian emergency" by the pontiff last year.
According to our exclusive NY1/Baruch College City Poll, New Yorkers appear to agree.
"New Yorkers overwhelmingly support the pope's views on climate change, on immigration, especially on the poor and how a society needs to treat its poor," said Mickey Blum, a pollster with Baruch College.
Take immigration. We asked whether New Yorkers agreed with the pope's message of welcoming foreigners instead of building fences to keep them out. 67 percent agreed. 22 percent opposed that message. 7 percent were unsure.
"I think he's changing the church," said one New Yorker. "He's very modern, and he has great ideas."
"The U.S. needs to change its current leadership. I think the pope has the right moral fabric in line for where he sees the future going," said another.
When we asked about the pontiff's view on climate change, 76 percent agreed with him, 17 percent disagreed and 5 percent were unsure.
New Yorkers were even more likely to agree with his message on poverty. Some 80 percent agreed with Pope Francis that to measure society, you must look at how it treats those most in need.
The pope is also scheduled to take this message to Congress. He will become the first pope to address a joint meeting of the country's legislature.
So is that an unwelcome clash of church and state? Two-thirds of New Yorkers we asked approve of a religious leader addressing Congress.
"He voices a lot of political opinions. He's really, although he's a religious leader, he's kind of a political leader also in some respects, so I think it's appropriate to address Congress," said one New Yorker.
We will see if that message is welcomed in Washington this week.