We are the most effective way to get your press release into the hands of reporters and news producers. Check out our client list.

Poll: Big Shift Among Practicing and Non-Practicing Catholics After Papal Visit -- More Likely to Vote, Better Understand Church Teaching, and Say Trip Met or Exceeded Expectations

Contact: Andrew Walther, Knights of Columbus, 203-752-4253, 203-824-5412

NEW HAVEN, Conn., May 9 /Christian Newswire/ -- New polling data released today by the Knights of Columbus shows that Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the United States in April produced a sharp jump in the proportion of American Catholics with a more positive view of the pope following his trip.

The information released today provides data specifically about Catholics, and is a companion to the analysis released last week about the views of Americans generally.  The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion interviewed 1,013 adults nationwide, and the survey results issued today are from an over sample of an additional 502 Catholics nationwide, and are statistically significant at ±4.4%.  All polling was done between April 22 and April 29, 2008, immediately following the pope's return to Rome.

Of particular interest are data showing much more positive views among both practicing and non-practicing Catholics.  For example, the proportion of practicing Catholics describing Benedict positively as a spiritual leader went from 70% before the visit to 82% afterward, a 12% jump.  Among non-practicing Catholics, the proportion went from 62% before the visit to 79% afterward, a 17% jump.

A majority of Catholics, 54%, said they were more in touch with their spiritual values as a result of the pope's visit, and 41% said they were more likely to vote in the November elections as a result.  Sixty-four percent of Catholics said they better understand the Catholic Church's position on important issues as a result of the trip.

Among the other key findings:

  • 88% of practicing Catholic, and 73% of non-practicing Catholics say the trip met or exceeded their expectations.
  • 72% of Catholics have a more positive view of the Church as a result of the visit, including 82% of practicing Catholics and 56% of non-practicing Catholics.
  • 81% of Catholics – practicing and non-practicing – have a positive view of Pope Benedict, compared to 63% before the visit.
  • 72% have a more positive view of the Catholic Church, including 82% of practicing and 56% of non-practicing Catholics.
  • 82% of American Catholics view Pope Benedict positively as a world leader

Also important, half (50%) say they are more likely to lead a moral life and make family a bigger part of their lives, while nearly 40% say they are more likely to become more active in their community or church.

Supreme Knight Carl Anderson said that the poll results "show clearly that Pope Benedict has presented the Catholics of the United States with a tremendous opportunity.  Americans are a religious people, and they responded very positively to the message of faith, hope and love that the Holy Father delivered throughout his visit.  It is now up to all of us in the Catholic community to walk through the door he has opened for us, and work together to build a civilization of love."

The complete poll results for Catholics, and for American's generally, can be found here.