Pope Francis' still popular and loved after 5 years as elected pope, survey reveals

After five years as the elected pope, many U.S. Catholics still regard Pope Francis as a popular and well-loved leader of the Catholic Church.

(REUTERS/Tony Gentile)Pope Francis waves as he leads the general audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican January 29, 2014.

A survey from the Pew Research Center that was done in January revealed that 84 percent of Catholics in the U.S. still view the pope positively since the first time he took the post. The majority of American Catholics also think that Pope Francis is a "humble " (91 percent) and "compassionate" (94 percent) leader.

The pope's popularity dropped by one point from a 2014 survey, and despite the high numbers, it was not enough to convince American Catholics to go to Sunday Mass regularly. At least 38 percent said that they go to church every week. That number, however, was lower than the 41 percent recorded in the last survey.

American Catholics commended the pope for his actions in the sexual abuses cases involving minors and against priests. At least three quarters of the respondents also believe that the pope has made significant changes in how the Catholic Church has accepted homosexuality, divorce and remarriage.

While there has not been any significant change in their general views about the pope among Democratic Catholics, there has been a slight difference noticed among Republican Catholics. At least 79 percent of the conservatives gave the pope a favorable rating but this used to be 90 percent a few years back.

Some Republican Catholics in the U.S. also said Pope Francis was too liberal (55 percent). This number jumped from just 23 percent in the last survey. Additionally, only 37 percent now regard him as a positive factor for the Catholic Church. This number dropped from 60 percent in the previous survey.

The results also showed the pope's numbers as being consistently higher than those of his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI's ratings, who was the leader of the Catholic Church from 2005 to 2013. But Pope Francis is slightly less popular than Pope John Paul II, who was the pontiff for nearly three decades.

The Pew Research Center conducted the survey among 1,503 adults.