Washington (CNN) - Two of President Barack Obama's top legislative initiatives - health care reform and financial regulation - are getting different reactions from the American public, according to a new national poll.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday indicates that a growing number of Americans support increased federal regulation over Wall Street banks and other financial institutions. Six out of ten people questioned in the poll say they favor the legislation, with 38 percent opposed. Support for the bill is up seven points from March, and opposition is down five points.
"Higher-income Americans appear more likely to support the bill than those who make less than $50,000 a year. Stricter financial regulations are popular with Democrats and Independents; a bare majority of Republicans oppose that legislation," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
The legislation aims to stop bailouts, shines a light on complex financial products and strengthens consumer protection. The bill would establish a consumer financial protection regulatory agency that could write new rules to protect consumers from unfair or abusive mortgages and credit cards.
It would also create a council of regulators that would sound an alarm before companies are in position to trigger a financial crisis. The bill would also establish new procedures for shutting down giant financial firms that are collapsing.
The House, last year, and the Senate, last month, passed different versions of the legislation. Lawmakers from each chamber will try this month to work out the differences in the bills. The goal is to send the final legislation to the president before the July 4 recess.
The poll suggests that most Americans continue to oppose the passage of the health care bill which Obama signed into law in April, although the public may be slightly more optimistic about the bill's ultimate effect on the country.
According to the survey, 56 percent of the public disapprove of the passage of the bill, with 43 percent approving of the new law.
"Opposition is highest among men, older Americans, and people who make more than $50,000 a year," says Holland.
But Americans are more evenly divided over whether the health care bill will be good or bad for the country. Fifty-one percent of people questioned in the survey say the bill will hurt the U.S., with 46 percent saying it will help.
"That indicates that Republican candidates may want to make the midterm elections into a retrospective referendum on whether the bill should have passed, while Democratic candidates may prefer to focus on the future and what the health care bill might mean for the country in the long run," adds Holland.
Supporters celebrate the enactment of the landmark $940 billion measure, but critics insist it will do little to slow spiraling costs and say businesses will be burdened by a slew of new regulations and taxes.
The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted May 21-23, with 1,023 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.
–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.