American Catholics are feeling a whole lot of goodwill for Pope Francis on his first Christmas as pontiff, according to a new poll.
A CNN/ORC International poll released Tuesday showed 88 percent of American Catholics approved of Francis' job as head of the church.
And among the American public in general, nearly three in four have a favorable view of the pontiff, according to the poll. As CNN points out, those figures suggest the Pope is arguably the most well-regarded religious figure among the American public today.
Francis earned the distinction of being named Time Magazine's 2013 Person of the Year for reforming the tone and focus of the Catholic church set by his predecessors. In his nine months as Pope, Francis chided church officials "obsessed" with abortion and gay marriage, spoke out against capitalist economic policies that generate inequality (which earned a shout-out from President Barack Obama and accusations of Marxism from Rush Limbaugh), and possibly snuck out of the Vatican at night to commune with the homeless.
The CNN/ORC poll was conducted by phone with 1,035 adults nationwide from Dec. 16-19. The survey had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.