Poll: Religion and politics ahead of Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia

     Pope Francis (Andrew Medichini/AP Photo)

    Pope Francis (Andrew Medichini/AP Photo)

    NewsWorks Tonight host Dave Heller sits down for his weekly conversation with Gallup’s Frank Newport to talk about trends in American opinion.

    Looking ahead to the visit of Pope Francis, we know that about 23 percent of Americans are Catholic, and that the mid-Atlantic is the most Catholic region of the country. Catholics used to be very religious, attending Mass more than others attended their church services. No more.

    Catholics are now less religious than Protestants. They attend church less, and are less likely to say that religion is Important in their daily lives.

    More than a third of Catholics identify as Hispanics, compared with 8 percent of Protestants who are Hispanics. On the other hand, only 3 percent of Catholics are black, compared with 17 percent of Protestants.

    Turning to politics, Americans were recently asked what they had read or heard about presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. The overwhelming answer was “emails,” leading to the conclusion that she has so far been unable to control her message but has let her message be controlled.

    Meanwhile, what people are seeing and hearing about her main “official” competitor, Sen. Bernie Sanders, is that he is a socialist. This isn’t promising for his campaign either.

    Three issues now constitute the most important problems facing the nation, according to Americans: dysfunctional government, the economy and immigration.

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