Rebuild Notre Dame? Yes, but many Americans say the church, not the state, should pay for it

April 29, 2019, 5:00 PM GMT+0

Almost nine in ten (88%) Catholics want the famous landmark rebuilt

The Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France is not just a Roman Catholic church. Both Catholics and non-Catholics in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll recognize its historical importance and want the cathedral to be rebuilt after last week’s fire destroyed the roof and toppled the spire. Where they differ is on whose responsibility it is to pay to rebuild the cathedral.

The world heritage landmark cathedral has been visited by more than one in ten American adults: 17% of Catholics and 12% of non-Catholics say they have personally visited Notre Dame. There is also much second-hand contact with the site. More than a third overall (and about half of Catholics) say they know someone who has been inside Notre Dame.

Firsthand knowledge is more common among those groups most likely to travel: more than a quarter of those with family incomes of $100,000 or more have visited Notre Dame in person. And people have been attentive. Majorities say they have heard “a lot” about the recent fire.

Very few don’t want to rebuild Notre Dame. There is less interest among younger adults, but by 63% to 16%, even those between the ages of 18 and 29 still want to rebuild. More than three-quarters overall rank the historical importance of the building as either a 4 or a 5 on a five-point scale. Less than one in ten score it as only a 1 or a 2 on that scale (44% overall and 62% of Catholics rank it at 5).

But there are differences on how to pay for the rebuilding of the cathedral. Americans overall are nearly twice as likely to want the Catholic Church to pay for the reconstruction as to say the French government should be responsible (French President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to reconstruct Notre Dame). Catholics are less convinced, with nearly as many saying that the French government or the tourists and pilgrims who visit the cathedral should pay (and so far, more than a billion Euros have been promised by companies and individuals to do just that).

Read the full toplines and tables results here

Photo: Getty