Pope Francis. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images

Pope Francis’ once-soaring popularity among Americans and American Catholics has sunk in the wake of child sex abuse reports within the Catholic Church that are crippling one of the world’s most powerful institutions, according to a new Pew Research poll.

Key findings: 31% of U.S. Catholics believe Francis is doing excellent or good, down from 45% in January and 55% in 2015. 72% view Francis favorably overall, compared to 84% in January. Among the general American public, 51% rate him favorably, a fall of 19% since January 2017.

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

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Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden has huge cash advantage over Trump as Election Day nears

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in Wilmington, Delaware, on Monday. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden had $177.3 million in the bank at the end of September, per the latest Federal Election Commission filings.

Why it matters: President Trump's re-election campaign reported having $63.1 million in the bank at the end of last month, as campaigning enters the final stretch ahead of Election Day on Nov. 3.

Court allows North Carolina mail-in ballots deadline extension

An absentee ballot election worker stuffs ballot applications at the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections office in Charlotte, North Carolina, in September. Photo: Logan Cyrus/AFP via Getty Images

North Carolina can accept absentee ballots that are postmarked Nov. 3, Election Day, until Nov. 12, a federal appeals court decided Tuesday in a 12-3 majority ruling.

Why it matters: The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling against state and national Republican leaders settles a lawsuit brought by a group representing retirees, and it could see scores of additional votes counted in the key battleground state.