New Pope Francis I Poll

The election of Francis I appears likely to have a positive impact on the affinity that US Latinos feel for the Catholic Church. According to a poll conducted yesterday by YaSabe.com, 35% of US Hispanics feel that Francis’ selection will bring them closer to the church. Another 14% of respondents were happy to see an Argentine Pope, while 51% were indifferent toward the choice made by the College of Cardinals.

If you are looking to get a handle on just how important the selection of a Pope from Latin America is to US Latinos, here’s a good benchmark: it’s on par with winning the World Cup. In the same poll conducted by YaSabe.com, exactly 51% of respondents indicated that they would rather see a Pope from the country of their birth than see their country win the World Cup, while 49% felt the opposite. Statistically, soccer championships are easier to come by than popes; out of the 19 World Cup tournaments held since 1930, Latin American teams have won 9 titles, while European nations have captured the other 10. The scales are tipped a bit more dramatically in Europe’s favor with regard to papal nationality.

Initial reactions indicate that the selection of a Pope from Argentina has already helped strengthen the bonds between the Church and many Hispanics in the US. Time will tell if Francis I is able to have an enduring effect on the Church’s relationship with its members in Latin America and throughout the New World. For the moment, Pope Francis I is making Argentines a bit closer to believing that in fact, God is Argentine.