What some papal pundits get wrong about the polls — and why (ANALYSIS)

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Following the general audience with Pope Francis in Rome on Sept. 2, 2015, the Holy Father met with members of the board of governors of Catholic Extension, including Archbishop Blase Cupich. Photo by Rich Kalonick

Following the general audience with Pope Francis in Rome on Sept. 2, 2015, the Holy Father met with members of the board of governors of Catholic Extension, including Archbishop Blase Cupich. Photo by Rich Kalonick

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(RNS) Pope Francis may not be as divisive or as upsetting to the public as he is to the pundits.

  • Thomas Ryscavage M.D.

    I have faith therefore I listen and I have nothing to prove. The people who have not accepted faith are usually enwrapped in disapproving anything connected to faith. Il Papa tells me what I need. Mr. Ponnuru and Ms. Bruenig tell me what they want. We are on different sides of the universe.

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  • Rambis

    One thing the article fails to take into account is that different polling organizations may use very different definitions of what is a “Catholic.” Is it just a self-identified term? Someone who was baptized into the Catholic church? Someone who actively attend Mass? Those different definitions will bring very different results.

    The same thing happens with defining “evangelicals.” One well-known polling firm classifies them as about 7% of the American population, while another has them at about 35%. They simply use very different definitions. See http://greymatterresearch.com/index_files/Grey_Matter_Report_Defining_Evangelicals_in_Research.pdf

    People often want to simplify research and polls and tell the story with a sentence or two (which is understandable), but research is much more complex than that.

  • Jerry O’Brien (@PlentyOfReason)

    It isn’t that the Gallup poll was a statistical or methodological outlier, it’s that events in June really did temporarily turn some Republicans against Pope Francis. That is when prominent Republicans made some noise about the Pope not being qualified to speak on climate science. Several such statements were made in June, after the Pew survey had collected most of its responses, but ahead of the Gallup polling in July. The politicians quickly thought better of making this kind of attack, and with the approach of Francis’s visit to America, it’s not surprising that his approval numbers recovered by August.

  • Jerry O’Brien (@PlentyOfReason)

    I earlier mentioned the criticism of Pope Francis that arose in June. I should also mention the specific trigger for the criticism was the publication of Laudato Si in mid June, which was the Pope’s encyclical that called for global action on climate change.

  • Bernardo

    Unless Francis somehow changes the flawed church dogma in the next week, he will be whistling in the winds of absurdities.