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September 25, 2015

Poll: Majority of Americans support Pope's call for action on climate

A majority of Americans agree with Pope Francis' call for world leaders to do more to combat climate change, with more than twice as many supporting the pope's message on the environment as opposing it, according to a poll released on Friday.

Some 61 percent of U.S. adults polled this month said they supported the pontiff's call to climate, which was the subject of a July encyclical which was the first major writing of any pope focused on the environment. Just 26 percent of the 1,832 adults polled Sept. 17-21 said they disagreed with Francis' call.

Support was higher among respondents who said they had no religion, with 74 percent supportive, than among Catholics, where 67 percent were supportive.

In his address to Congress on Thursday - the first by any pope - Francis cited his July missive, titled "Laudato Si (Praise Be)" in urging action.

"I call for a courageous and responsible effort to 'redirect our steps,' and to avert the most serious effects of the environmental deterioration caused by human activity," Francis told the Republican-dominated chamber. "I have no doubt that the United States – and this Congress – have an important role to play."

Some Republican lawmakers described the call as unrealistic.

Still, the poll, which had a 2.3 percentage point margin of error, showed that many Americans were supportive of Francis environmental message, which he is expected to reiterate in a Friday address to the United Nations General Assembly.

"The Pope is revered and admired by people of faith as well as those with no religion. And it’s not just on a spiritual level," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. "Americans agree with his stance that climate change is a global concern."