Nearly three-fourths of U.S. Catholics view the pontiff favorably, making him the most well-regarded religious figure in the U.S. public today, CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said.
The 77-year-old Argentine-born pope has enjoyed much popularity since he was elected pontiff in March. He was named person of the year by Time magazine and the Advocate, a gay and lesbian publication. One study indicated he was the most talked about person on the Internet this year and even atheists have shown an appreciation for him, CNN said.
"While 2013 will be remembered for the work of hundreds in advancing marriage equality, it will also be remembered for the example of one man," The Advocate said.
Among the 1,035 adults interviewed for the poll, more than 85 percent said Pope Francis is neither too liberal nor too conservative, 86 percent said he is in touch with the modern world and nearly two-thirds, said they agree with his opinion about capitalism and the free market's effects on the poor.
More than 60 percent agree with his opinion that women should have larger role in church governance and more than 60 percent said he's doing a good job handling the church's sexual abuse scandal.
The poll, conducted Dec. 16 through Thursday, had a 3 percentage point margin of error.
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