[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