At least, that's what a new Bloomberg poll (.pdf) says. Interestingly, the article accompanying the poll focuses on American's hatred of Wall Street, even though Congress, corporate executives and insurance companies all scored less favorably than Wall Street. The broader poll has some interesting political consequences, particularly for financial reform.
First, I put the full results of what I was referring to above in a chart:
As you can see Congress gets the most unfavorable response at 67%, while small business lies at the other end of the spectrum with an impressive 79% of Americans approving. I am kind of surprised that only a little over half of respondents had unfavorable views of Wall Street and banks. I also wouldn't have expected the Federal Reserve to fare so well -- only 31% had an unfavorable opinion. It looks like the public relations campaign the central bank began last year worked pretty well, as a Gallup poll in July showed only 30% thought it was doing a good job then. Now, 42% approved of the Fed according to this poll.
Consequences for Financial Regulation
Let's go back to Wall Street for a moment. Even though only 57% had an unfavorable view, just 2% had a very favorable view. So while it doesn't appear that a huge majority of Americans dislike Wall Street, very few love it. Banks didn't fare much better. So does this indicate Americans want financial reform? Luckily, Bloomberg asked a few more questions to clarify matters. Here are those results (click on it for larger version):