The Saint Leo University Polling Institute today released results from a nationwide poll which assessed public views regarding Pope Francis’ recent visit to the United States. The pope played well in the media as audiences tuned in, watched, or read a variety of platforms, and multiple times, during a concentrated period.
Some of the significant survey findings include:
• Visit awareness – 89.2 percent
• Tuning in – on average, nearly five times
• Strong interest – 78.2 percent
• Impressive message recall – 71.2 percent
Visit Awareness is High
Using their best guess, respondents aware of the pope’s visit were asked to report the number of times they tuned into or read coverage of the pope’s visit to the United States., September 22-27. On a composite basis, respondents reported an average of 4.8 times. Among U.S. Catholics, surveyed, the percentage was somewhat higher at 5.0 times.
Message Recall Also Impressive
Nearly three-quarters of those at least somewhat aware of the pope’s visit (71.2 percent), noted they recalled reading, listening to, or watching a “great deal or some” of the pope’s messages. Recall among Catholics was higher at 86.2 percent.
“Pope Francis is very media friendly, telegenic, and savvy,” said Michael Anthony Novak, assistant professor, Department of Philosophy, Theology, and Religious Studies at Saint Leo University. “The pope came of age in the beginnings of the communications revolution, starting with the turn to international television, and he seems comfortable in adapting these increasingly casual forms of social media, along with continuing to use more formal and established modes of communication.”
Variety of Media Platforms Utilized
While television led as the most frequently cited source (79.7 percent), used to follow the pope’s visit, others used online news websites (46.2 percent), social media (35.6 percent), conversations (25.4 percent), and print media (23.7 percent). Some survey respondents indicated they also followed the pope’s visit on radio (18.3 percent), radio talk shows (12.2 percent), or at places of worship (8.4 percent).
Sources for information utilized which helped “aware” respondents follow the pope’s visit are depicted in the following table. Multiple responses were accepted. Results are presented in declining order by composite data.
Sources Used to Follow Pope’s Visit Composite Catholic
Television coverage 79.7 89.3
Online news websites 46.2 49.6
Social media such as Facebook 35.6 38.5
Conversations with family, friends, co-workers 25.4 31.7
Print media (newspapers, magazines) 23.7 34.5
Radio coverage 18.3 22.6
Radio talk shows 12.2 14.7
Places of worship such as church, mosque, synagogue 8.4 16.7
Other 3.7 1.2
“The pope’s first visit to the Americas can be compared to other noteworthy historical events where people wanted to be present to witness history,” said Dr. Diane Monahan, associate professor of communication management, Department of Communication and Marketing at Saint Leo University. “Media allows people equal access to being a participant in the dialogue that shapes or could shape our nation’s future.”
The Saint Leo University Polling Institute survey results about Pope Francis’ U.S. visit, can be found here: http://polls.saintleo.edu. You can also follow the institute on Twitter @saintleopolls.
Methodology: The poll sampled opinions of 1,000 approximately proportional to state population contribution nationwide. The survey was conducted September 27 – 29, 2015. All surveys were conducted using an online survey instrument. The poll has a +/- 3.0 percent margin of error at a 95 percent confidence level on a composite basis.