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Ben Carson Nearly Ties with Frontrunner Trump Nationally Among Likely GOP Voters, while Jeb Bush Trails, Nationally and in Florida

Tightening of Democratic Field Helps Already-Strong Clinton; Any Break-Away Move by Trump from the GOP Field Would Boost Clinton’s Advantage
Retired pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson has basically tied with billionaire businessman Donald Trump as the leading presidential candidate among likely Republican voters surveyed nationally by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute.

Meanwhile on the Democratic side, likely voters nationally again put Hillary Clinton in the lead. Just as the poll was being completed, Vice President Joe Biden announced he will not run for the Democratic nomination.

The poll was conducted October 17-22, 2015, after the Republican debates on August 6 and September 16, and the first Democratic debate which occurred on October 13. In all, Saint Leo surveyed more than 1,000 adults. The number of likely Republican voters nationally who completed the poll was 225, yielding a margin of error of plus or minus 6 percentage points on results. Democratic likely voters included nationally numbered 259, also yielding a margin of error of plus or minus 6 percentage points on the results.

Carson Makes Impressive Show in Crowded National Field

Among likely Republican voters nationwide, those polled said their favored candidate was: Donald Trump (22.7 percent); retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson (22.2 percent); U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, (11.1 percent); former Florida Governor Jeb Bush (8.4 percent); former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina (5.8 percent); and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas (4.0 percent).

“We’re starting to see some ‘Trump fatigue’ setting in,” said Frank Orlando, instructor of political science at Saint Leo University. “Donald Trump thrives on the media attention. With the lull between debates and his upcoming ‘Saturday Night Live’ appearance (November 7), the soft-spoken, ‘anti-Trump’ candidate Ben Carson, has emerged as a viable candidate,” said Orlando.

Interestingly, Orlando […]

By |October 28th, 2015|Institute|0 Comments

Polls Suggests the Francis Effect Could Get Catholics into Pews More Often and More Donations Flowing

The enthusiasm generated by Pope Francis’ first trip to America may prompt some Catholics to attend Mass more frequently, and to donate more to Catholic causes, according to responses to a new survey conducted by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute.

The independent, nonpartisan institute affiliated with Saint Leo University conducted a special poll September 27-29, just after the end of the pontiff’s American visit, to assess his impact. Of American Catholics polled, 92 percent said they feel either strongly favorably or somewhat favorably about their pope.

Saint Leo University theologian Dr. Michael Anthony Novak  explained the resonance a pope can have among the flock. “​People sometimes wonder why the visit of a pope can have such importance for Catholics. Catholic spirituality is a sacramental spirituality. That means that Catholics see visible things as being signs of God’s invisible activity in the world: in the bread and wine of the Eucharist, or in the water of Baptism, to point to two major examples. In the same way, the pope’s actual job is to be the center of unity in the Catholic Church: he is the bishop of Rome, united with all the other bishops of the world. When Catholics encounter the pope, they can get a stronger sense of the unity in love that they experience in God, because the pope—in his office and in his person—is the visible sign of that unity within the global Catholic Church.”

So it was interesting to see the responses posed by the poll specifically to Catholics taking the survey about their level of engagement. (The poll contacted 1,000 Americans from a variety of faiths, and 26 percent identified themselves as Catholics. The margin of error for responses from the Catholic subgroup is plus or minus 6 percent, […]

By |October 5th, 2015|Institute|0 Comments

Pope Francis Coverage is High as Americans Tuned In/Followed Him During U.S. Visit

On average, Americans tuned in five times according to new national Saint Leo poll
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 […]

By |October 1st, 2015|Institute|0 Comments

Saint Leo University Polling Institute Quantifies the Extraordinary Appeal of Pope Francis with In-Depth Survey

Pontiff’s Popularity Rises, Many Messages on Social Teachings and Ecology Embraced in Comprehensive Survey
Americans polled just after Pope Francis’ historic visit to the United States like the leader of the Catholic Church so much that three-quarters, or 75.8 percent, reported holding either a very favorable or somewhat favorable opinion of the pontiff, according to data collected by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute.

The nonpartisan survey of 1,000 respondents nationwide was conducted September 27 – 29, 2015, to capture Americans’ sentiments immediately following the end of the pope’s six-day visit. It was a special survey solely about Pope Francis and his impact, and conducted apart from the institute’s usual quarterly survey on politics and other topics in the public sphere. This poll included Catholics, other Christians, members of other faith groups, and those not affiliated with any faith group. The margin of error was plus or minus 3 percent for responses gathered from the overall survey base. (Detailed information is at

“The pope is very popular, not just among Catholics, but also among Christians, and non-Christians,” said Frank Orlando, Saint Leo University instructor of political science. “In the past, politicians needed to work with the pope to help with Catholic voters. While between 20 and 25 percent of all Americans are Catholic, this pope is reaching almost everyone,” Orlando added.

The Saint Leo University Polling Institute has been tracking the popularity of the pontiff across the broad population over time, and the most recent survey reflects a clear boost in the pope’s popularity. In a poll conducted in March 2015, 66 percent of respondents reported having either a very favorable or somewhat favorable opinion of Francis. In late September and early October 2014, 63 percent reported a very […]

By |October 1st, 2015|Institute|0 Comments