RELIGION

Survey: Pope Francis' approval in US drops from 2014 high, fueled by conservative discontent

FILE - In this Wednesday, July 8, 2015 file photo, Pope Francis holds hands with children wearing traditional clothing as he walks with Bolivian President Evo Morales, background right, upon his arrival at the El Alto airport in Bolivia. The pouch Francis is wearing around his neck was given to him by Morales. According to a new Gallup poll released Wednesday, July 22, 2015, two months ahead of his first trip to the U.S., Pope Francis' approval rating among Americans has plummeted, driven mostly by a decline among political conservatives and Roman Catholics. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

FILE - In this Wednesday, July 8, 2015 file photo, Pope Francis holds hands with children wearing traditional clothing as he walks with Bolivian President Evo Morales, background right, upon his arrival at the El Alto airport in Bolivia. The pouch Francis is wearing around his neck was given to him by Morales. According to a new Gallup poll released Wednesday, July 22, 2015, two months ahead of his first trip to the U.S., Pope Francis' approval rating among Americans has plummeted, driven mostly by a decline among political conservatives and Roman Catholics. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)  (The Associated Press)

Pope Francis' rock-star popularity appears to be dimming in the United States.

In a Gallup survey released Wednesday, 59 percent of Americans said they thought favorably of the pope, compared to 76 percent last year.

The most dramatic decline was among political conservatives. Only 45 percent gave the pope high marks, a drop of 27 percentage points. Among Catholics, Francis' approval rating dropped by 18 percentage points to 71 percent. However, liberals also seemed to sour on the pope. Sixty-eight percent viewed him favorably, a drop of 14 percentage points since last year.

The survey of just over 1,000 adults was conducted July 8-12. That's three weeks after the pope's bombshell teaching document that said climate change was largely man-made and that unfettered capitalism exploited the poor.