Financial regulatory reform can help Dems with 'angry' seniors

Meanwhile, there's a significant enthusiasm gap between the two parties, according to a new George Washington University Battleground Poll released Wednesday.

In the survey of 1,000 likely voters, 76 percent of Republicans said they were "extremely likely to vote," while only 62 percent of Democrats said the same. Meanwhile, 17 percent more whites than African Americans said they were extremely likely to vote and only 55 percent of young people said they planned to go to the polls in November.  "The [enthusiasm] gap is bigger than it was even in 1994 at this point in time," Lake said.

"We are looking for something that will kind of neutralize the disadvantage we have on seniors," she said. "We're behind 15 points in vote on seniors. We're behind 22 points on the healthcare plan with seniors. We split [seniors] on the Wall Street reform. Seniors do think they were really hurt by what happened on Wall Street. So that’s a big plus for us."

The Democratic push to reform the financial sector could help the party's chances in November, Lake said. "We believe this is an opportunity for us to create more enthusiasm, to try to neutralize that gap, which is I think in the long run the most serious challenge we have out there."

"Democrats are more enthusiastic for our side on this issue than Republicans are for their side on the issue," Lake continued. "There's a real opportunity here to use this issue to deal with two structural problems that we have, which is a serious disadvantage with seniors and the enthusiasm gap that we have on our side."

Republicans are too smart to be caught on the wrong side of this issue, said Ed Goeas, a Republican pollster whose firm helped conduct the poll.

"If they think they're going to catch us defending Wall Street, or specifically defending these big financial institutions I think they're sadly mistaken," Goeas said. "The reality is we're going to be able to push back very strongly."
 
He added, "This is not the slam dunk that I think many of the Democrats thought it was going to be in the beginning."
 
In fact, the GOP has already criticized the Democrats' bill for leading to more bailouts.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) took to the Senate floor Tuesday and said the pending bill in the Senate "not only allows for taxpayer-funded bailouts of Wall Street banks, it institutionalizes them."
 
-- Silla Brush contributed to this report.