The results of a new poll show Pope Francis' favorability rating in the United States has plummeted over the last 17 months.
A Gallup survey
finds that the Pope's favorability rating is 59 percent, down from 76 percent in February 2014.
Soon after he was elected Pope in March 2013, another Gallup poll found his favorability rating in the U.S. to be 58 percent.
The most recent Gallup poll finds that the Pope's rating decline can be tied to Catholics and conservatives, whose support for him dropped 18 and 27 percentage points since last year's survey, respectively.
Support for the Pope has also fallen among Protestants and other Christians (-21 percent), moderates (-8 percent), and liberals (-14 percent).
Pope Francis' current favorability rating in the U.S. is higher than the lowest tallied for his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI (40 percent, March 2010), but is below the lowest figure for Pope John Paul II (61 percent, April-May 2002), according to the Gallup numbers.
Fueling Pope Francis' declining support could be the Vatican's recent directives on climate change
, which the Pope said is supported by "a very solid scientific consensus."
A climate summit
in Vatican City this week saw dozens of mayors and local officials from the across the world gather for two days of meetings. One of the speakers in attendance was California Gov. Jerry Brown
, who said Tuesday climate change is a serious issue that needs to be addressed.
"We are talking about extinction," Brown said. "We are talking about climate regimes that have not been seen for tens of millions of years. We're not there yet, but we're on our way. And there's an element of irreversibility that requires that we imagine, down the road in the future, and then react."
A study earlier this year
, meanwhile, showed that Christianity is on the decline in the U.S.
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