The number of Republican and GOP-leaning American Catholics who say Pope Francis is too liberal has more than doubled in the past three years, with a majority now saying he is too far to the left for them, according to a new Pew Research Center poll.
Francis has at times been critical of President Trump, particularly on immigration. When the two met last year, he handed Trump a copy of his encyclical on climate change. A few days later, Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate change accords.
While the Pontiff continues to be viewed favorably overall by Republicans, 55 percent now think he is too liberal, compared to 23 percent in 2015. Meantime, 32 percent say he is naïve, double the 16 percent who said he was naïve three years ago. And the number who find he has made a “major change for the better” has declined steeply since 2014, from 60 percent of Republican Catholics to just 37 percent.
The numbers point to a deep divide in how Republican and Democratic Catholics view the Pope. Only 19 percent of Democrats thing he is too liberal, and just 18 percent say he is too naïve, just a slight increase from 2015.
Still, Republicans are not willing to give Pope the thumbs down. Seventy-nine percent view him favorably, though that’s down from 90 percent three years ago.