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5 Years Later, Americans Still Support Financial Regulation

Christine DiGangi

The electorate overwhelmingly supports strong regulation of Wall Street and other financial institutions, according to a survey of 1,004 likely voters.

On behalf of Americans for Financial Reform and the Center for Responsible Lending, Lake Research Partners conducted the study from July 8 to July 11, asking a variety of broad and issue-specific questions about financial reform. The report did not list a margin of error.

More than 90% of voters said it is important or very important to regulate financial services and products, and that sentiment transcended party lines: 96% of Democrats, 95% of Independents and 89% of Republicans answered as such.

Whether or not there should be more or less financial regulation depended on the question. In general, when asked to choose between more or less regulation of financial companies, 71% said more and 20% said less.

But voters aren’t over the financial meltdown that sent the country into recession. When given the option of saying whether Wall Street should be subject to tougher regulation, 83% of voters favored greater regulation.

Public opinion has changed significantly in the past year, according to this survey. In 2012, 59% of voters favored more regulation for financial companies, as opposed to this year’s 71%.

Though five years have passed since the onset of the financial crisis, voters want Wall Street to be held accountable for risky behavior. When presented with arguments for and against financial reform, 63% of voters agreed that reforms must prevent Wall Street from repeating the actions that led to the meltdown.

While more than 40% said they had no opinion or hadn’t heard of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 64% saw the need for its task of shielding consumers from dangerous financial products, like abuses in the businesses of credit cards, student loans, payday loans, debt collection and credit reporting.

Of the financial products mentioned, consumers displayed the most ire for payday lenders and credit cards.

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