Financial reform advocates are touting a new poll they believe shows Americans overwhelming support their cause. A Washington Post-ABC News poll (.pdf) conducted over the weekend found that between 63% and 65% of respondents support stricter federal regulation on banks and Wall Street. That clashes with earlier polls that indicated much weaker support for reform. This new poll also shows something else: tepid support for some of reform's most controversial provisions.
First, the poll determined that somewhere between 63% and 65% of respondents somewhat or strong support broader federal regulation of Wall Street and the banks. But then the pollster asked about three contentious options currently under consideration. Here are those results:
- 43% (16% strongly, 26% somewhat) support "having the federal government regulate the complex financial instruments known as derivatives."
- 53% (27% strongly, 26% somewhat) support "requiring large banks and other financial companies to put money into a fund that would cover the cost of taking over and breaking up any large financial company that fails and threatens the broader economy."
- 59% (36% strongly, 23% somewhat) support "increasing federal oversight of the way banks and other financial companies make consumer loans, such as mortgages and auto loans, and issue credit cards."