Poll finds strong support for pope
Three-fourths of Americans surveyed hold favorable view
(CNN) -- An overwhelming majority of Americans surveyed have a favorable opinion of Pope John Paul II, according to a phone poll conducted one month ago.
A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll of 1,008 adult Americans, including 241 Catholics, found 78 percent held a favorable view of the ailing pontiff, while 11 percent held an unfavorable view of him.
John Paul has a unique relationship with the United States. He was the first pope to visit the White House -- in 1979. In 1984, the pope re-established full diplomatic relations with Washington, which were broken off by Congress in 1867. He has condemned the death penalty, the U.S.-led war against Iraq, and abortion rights.
And during a visit last year, at the height of his re-election bid, President Bush asked for the Vatican's help in getting U.S. bishops to promote his conservative social agenda.
Among Catholics polled, more than a third -- or 38 percent -- said they view the pope as one of the greatest world leaders in their lifetime. In contrast, 17 percent of non-Catholics view him that way.
The margin of error for questions asked of Catholics and non-Catholics was plus or minus 7 percentage points; otherwise, the margin was plus or minus 3 percentage points.
In a question asked of Catholics only, two-thirds of respondents said the pope's positions are about right. A third of the respondents said he is too conservative.