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Pope's Popularity Falls to a Low in U.S. in Wake of Abuse Scandal

5 years ago
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Pope Benedict XVI's popularity among Americans has fallen to a new low in the wake of revelations about the church's handling of child sex abuse cases and questions about his own role in responding to such cases when he was in a position to do so before he ascended to the papacy, according to a Gallup poll conducted March 26-28.

Benedict was seen favorably by 55 percent of Americans when he was elected pope in 2005, a number that peaked at 63 percent in 2008. But now 40 percent say they see him favorably and 35 percent regard him unfavorably.

Among Catholics, 67 percent regarded him favorably when he became pope, a number that rose to 81 percent two years ago. Now, it has fallen to 61 percent. Fifty-one percent of non-Catholics initially viewed Benedict favorably in 2005, rising to 58 percent in 2008 and now falling to 35 percent.

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