April 20th, 2010
12:00 PM ET
13 years ago

Poll: Public backs giving Washington more power to regulate Wall Street

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/20/art.wallstreet5.gi.jpg caption ="A new Gallup poll released Tuesday indicates that 50 percent of Americans support a proposal to give the government new powers to regulate Wall Street banks and other financial institutions."]Washington (CNN) - Americans appear to support a proposal to give the government new powers to regulate Wall Street banks and other financial institutions, according to a new national poll.

A Gallup survey released Tuesday indicates that 50 percent of the public supports the move, with 36 percent opposed and 15 percent unsure.

The new powers to regulate large banks and financial institutions are included in a bill backed by Senate Democrats that would create a new process to shut down failing firms and require banks to beef up capital cushions, while creating a new consumer regulator to watch over mortgages and credit cards. Senate Republicans are opposed to the legislation.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll conducted in March found that just over half of all Americans favored greater government regulation over Wall Street, with 43 percent opposed.

The Gallup poll indicates that support rises when "Wall Street" is specified as the target of new regulations. When a similar question asks about new regulations of "large banks and major financial institutions" without any mention of Wall Street, 46 percent favor new regulations and 43 percent oppose them.

The Gallup survey suggests a strong partisan divide. More than seven in ten Democrats support giving the federal government more power to regulate large banks and financial institutions, but seven in ten Republicans oppose such a move and independent voters are split on the issue. The March CNN survey also suggested a large partisan gap, as well as an income divide.

"Support for financial regulation is highest among upper-income Americans - possibly because they are the ones with more money in the hands of financial institutions, which also means they lost more when financial institutions ran into trouble in 2008," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

According to the Gallup poll, 42 percent say they have more trust in the Democrats to handle this issue, with 34 percent saying they trust the Republicans more, and one in four saying they trust neither party or are unsure.

The Gallup poll was conducted April 17-18, with 1,024 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points.

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn

Filed under: Financial Reform • Wall Street
soundoff (62 Responses)
  1. Brian

    I am sure those GOP clowns will just keep saying no. I hope they do – it will reap large rewards for the democrats in the mid-terms.

    April 20, 2010 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  2. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert but...

    Don't fool yourselves, this whole Goldman Sachs investigation is just for show. Washington is making itself look tough on Wall St. so that it can pass a toothless "reform" package, Goldman will get off with a slap on the wrist (nowhere near the $billion it allegedly pocketed) and no one, not a soul, will do any time. Then everybody can get back to business as usual. And you consumerbots will swallow it all, hook, line and sinker while your corporate masters and their pet congress critters have brandy and cigars on the veranda together. Welcome to the United States of America, Inc. Have a nice day!

    April 20, 2010 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  3. Sue

    Just like every other issue so far.........

    Once the majority in the country learn more about what exactly Obama, Pelosi, Reid and the liberal Dems are trying to push/accomplish with their Bill to regulate Wall Street--the support for it will diminish.

    The Republicans just need to be more acitve/vocal-–in letting citizens/voters know what "exactly' is in this Bill.

    April 20, 2010 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  4. Josh

    Tea party and republicans please pay heed to this gallup poll response. We need the government to regualate the free running theives on wall street. Republicans stop trying to protect them. We know they are your money bags but with all of the wall street bankers combined can not out vote 300,000,000 plus americans.

    April 20, 2010 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  5. Coherent1

    An unregulated financial market mimics a beautiful brick home with a wooden frame, untreated for termites. It will be destroyed from the inside out.

    April 20, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  6. David

    All I will say is that if this means more power to the Federal Reserve (which is neither federal nor a reserve) than they are dooming us all. It is that simple.

    April 20, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  7. TomInRochNY

    Rs oppose regulating business. What a surprise. Deregulation has always caused problems, yet no one on the right seems to care. Again, what a surprise.

    April 20, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  8. Ferret out the BS

    Interesting, I'm surprised there are still quite a few out there that believe the banks and financial firms are on our side. Wake up people!! Free market capitalism is great when the people practicing it are ethical but we got a bunch of bankers and brokers that would [and did] steal the shirt off your back to make a buck! The economy went into the toilet because of them and the morons running the govt at the time not only let it happen, they encouraged it. The last 10 years have proven that regulation is essential to the financial survival of everybody else in the country outside of Wall Street.

    April 20, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  9. Mikey

    It doesn't matter. The GOP will go into block and stall mode no matter what – partly to appease their corporate benefactors and partly as part of their continuing effort to damage the Obama Presidency (of course, regardless of the adverse inpact on our country). The only uncertainty is the nature of the tortured logic that will be used to justify this chapter of "just say no".

    April 20, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  10. LacrosseMom(the real one)

    34% trust the Republicans? THEY ARE THE REASON WE HAD A FINANCIAL MELTDOWN! The "Financial Services Modernization Act" also known as the Gram-Leachy-Bliley Act, DE-regulated Wall Street and the Banks!

    SO they could BET on the FAILURE of American homeowners mortgages! The Banks created "subprime loans" and Wall Street made billions on the BETS that people would foreclose!

    WAKE UP AMERICA! Do some research, READ up on this very important fight in Congress!

    The Republicans are on the side of the Banks and Wall Streets....... NOT ON THE SIDE OF INVESTORS THAT LOST BILLIONS!

    April 20, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  11. Michelle

    Democrats and the American people back this, so the GOP will be sure to say, "no, you can't!" Watch.

    April 20, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  12. Beef King

    This is the worst bill yet. It gives the megabanks free rein to continue their theft of America.
    There is a provision in the bill that allows the Executive Branch (Obama) to shut down ALL banks and take control of them without Congressional superivison.
    King Obama Strikes Again!

    April 20, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  13. Victim of GOP Taliban

    maybe the Republican Senate leadership can have another closed-door secret meeting to find a "solution"

    April 20, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  14. Brink

    Why does the Republican party continue to ignore the will of the American people? It is clear that the Americans overwhelmingly want the abuses of Wall Street stopped and do not want to be the ones to take the risks while Wall Streeters get all the benefits. Why can't McConnell and his GOP naysayers understand this? Could it be the smell of money?

    April 20, 2010 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  15. Francisco

    OK Republicans, just say "No" to 50% support?

    April 20, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  16. Liam

    Figuring out who you trust least is the hardest part. We need reform but trusting the Federal Government to do anything efficeintly without further exacerbating the problem is almost improssible.

    April 20, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  17. Jay T.

    Of course they do now. But, you just wait for those conservative talking heads who have made millions off the corporate scum who sank this country to start spinning these regulations and the sheeple will fall right in line behind them.

    April 20, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  18. Us Dems for Obama

    This is just another "Obama takeover" of our free market system! It is amazing to me to watch the arrogance of this administration, over 80% of Americans oppose the intrusion of government into our lives. But Obama and his cronies (IE: the Liberal Left, Pelosi/Reid/etc) are rolling "full steam ahead"......the real question to ask is; Why?
    The answer; they know that they have only 6 to 7 months to ram whatever they can down the American public's throats, and they intend to do just that! They know that after the November elections, the Liberal Left may never have another opportunity as this.
    But I have news for you all......this nation was/is built on the sweat and blood of patriotism, honor, and the love of liberty, and everything this administration smacks of is totally opposite. That and that alone is why this administration is going down and going down hard and fast!
    Another question to ask here is; why does the Democratic party allow the minority/liberal left to "run the show"?

    April 20, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  19. katiec

    The only people who could possibly be against regulations have to be those believing the republicans lies and are followers of the radicals.
    And, of course, the republican politicians who do not hesitate to sacrifice our survival for their undying support for big business.
    Believe this latest republican obstruction will be their final undoing,

    April 20, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  20. Noble Bradford

    So ignore the polls and vote in healthcare against the public wishes and tout the polls and stifle capitalism.

    This just makes me think that no matter what the government is always going to vote for more power no matter what the public wants.

    You really want to stop this kind of financial meltdown from happening again? Stop rescuing the companies from the practices that caused it!

    If a company does something that causes it and its customers to lose BILLIONS of dollars that that company deserves to fail. Now Goldman Sachs has returned to profit (like they ever lost any money) and paid back there bailout. But what about there customers that lost billions, nobody bailed them out.

    Very Sad.

    April 20, 2010 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  21. Sarah the baby seal basher

    Teddy Rooesvelt would go even further.

    April 20, 2010 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  22. Sue

    Just curious...........And, if CNN did their jobs investigating ALL politicians, not just the Republicans-–they would be investigating/asking the same thing.............

    Obama received $1 million from Goldman Sachs for his campaign-–will he now be returning the money????

    April 20, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  23. Nick

    Ya, Cnn is coming around. what will the republicans do now?!

    April 20, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  24. linda

    Of course the republicans are opposed to financial reform – they
    like old man McCain – lost and cannot handle it.

    They hate America, and they – the Republics are what is wrong
    in Washington.

    Vote them out!

    April 20, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  25. hal

    Where do they get these polls? I didn't get my phone call! I think they make some of these polls up so people believe in them!!

    April 20, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
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