Nearly five years after the financial crisis, a new national poll shows continued bipartisan support for tough regulation of the financial industry and its products and services, along with a pervasive sense that more needs to be done.
Wall Street regulations and enforcement need to be strengthened
A sweeping majority of voters (78%) believe that financial rules and enforcement need to be strengthened, and that Wall Street’s bad practices have not changed enough. The survey was conducted at the end of June 2014 by Lake Research Partners on behalf of Americans for Financial Reform and the Center for Responsible Lending.
By a 3:1 margin, voters agree that getting tougher on Wall Street will help prevent future crises, rejecting the counter-argument that regulation will damage the economy. This is true of Democratic, Independent, and Republican voters alike – by margins of 85% to 7%, 78% to 9%, and 72% to 15% respectively.
Dodd-Frank financial reform law
Four years after passage of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, voters overwhelmingly back its extension of oversight to previously unregulated entities. Once again, party-line differences are modest, with 86% of Democrats, 69% of Independents, and 68% of Republicans voicing support.
Four-fifths of all voters express concern over the political influence of Wall Street and the financial industry, and more than half (55%) say they would be less likely to vote for a congressional candidate known to have received large donations from big banks and financial companies, as against 13% who say they would be more likely to vote for such a candidate, and 31% not stating an opinion.
The survey documents strong and bipartisan support for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – both for the concept of an agency focused on protecting consumers and rooting out deceptive and abusive practices, and for specific actions (either proposed or already taken) involving credit and debit cards, overdraft fees, student loans, and other products and services. Here, too, voters are overwhelmingly more likely to support the CFPB’s mission and work than to believe the agency is going too far or poses a threat to the economy.