October 4, 2013 - U.S. Catholics Back Pope On Changing Church Focus, Quinnipiac University National Poll Finds; Catholics Support Gay Marriage, Women Priests 2-1
PDF format

American Catholics agree 68 - 23 percent, with little difference between more observant and less observant Catholics, with Pope Francis' recent observation that the Church has become too focused on issues such as homosexuality, abortion and contraceptives, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released today.

Support for the Pope's observation is strong among men, women and all age groups, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds.

American Catholics support same-sex marriage 60 - 31 percent, compared to the 56 - 36 percent support among all U.S. adults.

More devout Catholics, who attend religious services about once a week, support same- sex marriage 53 - 40 percent, while less observant Catholics support it 65 - 26 percent.

Catholic women support same-sex marriage 72 - 22 percent, while Catholic men support it 49 - 40 percent. Support ranges from 46 - 37 percent among Catholics over 65 years old to 64 - 27 percent among Catholics 18 to 49 years old.

Catholics like their new Pope: 36 percent have a "very favorable" opinion of him and 53 percent have a "favorable" opinion, with 4 percent "unfavorable."

"American Catholics liked what they heard when Pope Francis said the Church should stop talking so much about issues like gay marriage, abortion and contraception," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"Maybe they were just waiting for a Jesuit. Overwhelmingly, across the demographic board, Catholics - men and women, regular or not-so-regular church-goers, young and old - have a favorable opinion of Pope Francis."

American Catholics support 60 - 30 percent the ordination of women priests. Those who attend religious services about once a week support women priests 52 - 38 percent, compared to 66 - 25 percent among those who attend services less frequently.

There is almost no gender gap.

Support for women priests grows with age, from 57 - 32 percent among Catholics 18 to 49 years old to 68 - 28 percent among those over 65 years old.

Catholic opinion on abortion is similar of the opinions of all American adults:
  • 16 percent of Catholics say abortion should be legal in all cases, compared to 19 percent of all Americans;
  • 36 percent of Catholics say abortion should be legal in most cases, compared to 34 percent of all Americans;
  • 21 percent of Catholics say abortion should be illegal in most cases, compared to 23 percent of all Americans;
  • 21 percent of Catholics say abortion should be illegal in all cases, compared to 16 percent of all Americans.
"On the two issues that have prompted some pulpit thundering, same-sex marriage and abortion, Catholics are right in line, or even a little ahead, of their non-Catholic neighbors," Carroll said.

"There's one big issue where Catholics split with current church practice: by 2-1 they'd like to have women priests. Women and men feel about the same on this issue."

From September 23 - 29, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,776 American adults with a margin of error of +/- 2.3 percentage points. The survey includes 392 Catholics with a margin of error of +/- 5 percentage points. Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Ohio, Colorado, Virginia and the nation as a public service and for research.

For more information, visit http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling, call (203) 582-5201, or follow us on Twitter.

49. (All adults) Would you support or oppose a law in your state that would allow same-sex couples to get married?
                     ALL ADULTS..........................................
                                          ATTEND SRVCS  AGE..............
                     Tot    Men    Wom    Weekly Less   18-49  50-64  65+
 
Support              56%    52%    60%    34%    68%    63%    54%    39%
Oppose               36     40     33     58     25     29     40     52
DK/NA                 8      9      7      8      8      8      6      9
 
                     ADULT CATHOLICS.....................................
                                          ATTEND SRVCS  AGE..............
                     Tot    Men    Wom    Weekly Less   18-49  50-64  65+
 
Support              60%    49%    72%    53%    65%    64%    62%    46%
Oppose               31     40     22     40     26     27     34     37
DK/NA                 9     11      6      8      9      9      4     17
 
                     REGISTERED VOTERS.....................
                     Tot    Men    Wom    Rep    Dem    Ind
                                          
Support              57%    54%    60%    36%    70%    59%
Oppose               36     39     34     58     26     34 
DK/NA                 6      6      6      6      4      7 
 
 
50. (All adults) Do you think abortion should be legal in all cases, legal in most cases, illegal in most cases or illegal in all cases?
                     ALL ADULTS..........................................
                                          ATTEND SRVCS  AGE..............
                     Tot    Men    Wom    Weekly Less   18-49  50-64  65+
 
Legal all cases      19%    17%    22%    11%    24%    22%    19%    14%
Legal most cases     34     36     32     22     41     35     35     31
Illegal most cases   23     24     22     33     18     22     24     26
Illegal all cases    16     14     18     26     11     17     13     17
DK/NA                 7      8      6      8      6      4      9     11
 
                     ADULT CATHOLICS.....................................
                                          ATTEND SRVCS  AGE..............
                     Tot    Men    Wom    Weekly Less   18-49  50-64  65+
 
Legal all cases      16%    15%    17%    12%    19%    16%    18%     6%
Legal most cases     36     36     35     20     45     35     39     37
Illegal most cases   21     22     20     29     16     21     18     29
Illegal all cases    21     19     23     32     13     26     16     14
DK/NA                 7      8      5      7      6      3     10     14
 
                     REGISTERED VOTERS.....................
                     Tot    Men    Wom    Rep    Dem    Ind
                                      
Legal all cases      20%    17%    23%     8%    31%    19%
Legal most cases     36     39     33     23     42     40 
Illegal most cases   23     25     22     39     14     20 
Illegal all cases    14     11     16     24      6     13 
DK/NA                 7      8      6      5      7      8 
 
 
55. (If Catholic) Is your opinion of Pope Francis very favorable, favorable, unfavorable, or very unfavorable?
                     ADULT CATHOLICS.....................................
                                          ATTEND SRVCS  AGE..............
                     Tot    Men    Wom    Weekly Less   18-49  50-64  65+
 
Very favorable       36%    34%    38%    46%    29%    37%    30%    43%
Favorable            53     55     51     47     56     51     59     47
Unfavorable           4      3      5      2      5      4      5      2
Very unfavorable      -      -      1      -      1      1      -      -
DK/NA                 7      8      6      5      8      7      6      9
 
TREND: Is your opinion of Pope Francis very favorable, favorable, unfavorable, or very unfavorable?
                     ADULT CATHOLICS.........................
                     FRANCIS       BENEDICT XVI  JOHN PAUL II
                     Oct 02        Mar 08        Apr 11
                     2013          2013          2002
                                   
Very favorable       36            16            39
Favorable            53            58            47
Unfavorable           4            15             5
Very unfavorable      -             3             1
DK/NA                 7             8             8
 
 
56. (If Catholic) As you may know, Pope Francis recently remarked that the church has become too focused on issues like homosexuality, abortion and contraceptives. Do you agree or disagree?
                     ADULT CATHOLICS.....................................
                                          ATTEND SRVCS  AGE..............
                     Tot    Men    Wom    Weekly Less   18-49  50-64  65+
 
Agree                68%    66%    71%    65%    70%    67%    72%    67%
Disagree             23     23     24     27     21     23     22     24
DK/NA                 8     11      6      8      8     10      6      9
 
 
57. (If Catholic) Do you favor or oppose allowing women to be ordained as Catholic priests?
                     ADULT CATHOLICS.....................................
                                          ATTEND SRVCS  AGE..............
                     Tot    Men    Wom    Weekly Less   18-49  50-64  65+
 
Favor                60%    58%    62%    52%    66%    57%    64%    68%
Oppose               30     30     29     38     25     32     26     28
DK/NA                10     12      9     11      9     11     10      4
 
TREND: Do you favor or oppose allowing women to be ordained as Catholic priests?
                     ADULT CATHOLICS.......
                     Oct 02  Jun 12  Apr 11
                     2013    2002    2002
 
Favor                60      63      65
Oppose               30      26      26
DK/NA                10      10       9
 
 
 

Demographic Summary