Everyone, well almost everyone, seems to love Pope Francis. The Roman Catholic Church's first Latin American pontiff has charmed global opinion since he ascended to his papal seat last year, championing causes of economic justice and the rights of migrants in a way that has endeared him to many outside of the church's more than 1 billion faithful.
A recent Pew survey of the pope's popularity shows the depth of goodwill for him around the world.
The Pew researchers interviewed more than 40,000 people in 43 countries. Unsurprisingly, the part of the world the pontiff's rated worst was the Middle East, where traditional antipathies for the pope and his congregation date back hundreds of years to the Crusades--bloody European expeditions that were launched with papal blessing.
Even then, a similar number surveyed in the Middle East approve of Pope Francis as those who find him "unfavorable."
Here's a fuller geographic breakdown of Pew's survey:
The pope's popularity is highest in the Vatican's traditional backyard, Europe. This is despite a tough speech that the pontiff delivered before the European Union's main assembly, describing the continent as "haggard" and a tired "grandmother," in need of redemption and better governance.
Moreover, as the chart below shows, a considerable number of non-Catholics like the pope, even if he's not the head of their own congregations. The "favorability" gap between Catholics and non-Catholics is narrowest in Europe.
What's striking, though, is that Pope Francis, an Argentine, appears to have a more conflicted following in Latin America. That perhaps shouldn't be too surprising. A Pew survey in November found that Latin America's Catholic population was shrinking dramatically in the face of widespread Protestant conversions, particularly to evangelical Pentecostal churches. That's a battle that Pope Francis, despite his charm and popularity, may struggle to win.