Polls: Voters support financial reform, but details mixed

The Pew Financial Reform Project, Zogby Interactive and Hamilton Place Strategies/YouGovPolimetrix all released wide-ranging polls on financial reform as the Senate heads toward a vote before Memorial Day.

President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats have made financial reform their next priority following the passage of healthcare legislation.

Overall support

All three polls found large margins of voters in support of financial reform, but slightly lower percentages for those who support the specific plan pending in Congress.

Pew: 59 percent support Congress and the administration reforming the financial system; 33 percent oppose.

Zogby: 65 percent say Congress should pass stronger regulations.

YouGov: 44 percent favor new laws; 30 percent oppose.

The polls show some concerns about the exact plan pending in Congress. According to the Pew poll, 40 percent favor the plan, 29 percent oppose and 31 percent said they did not know.

Bailouts

Voters appear to care most about how to end the problem of firms that are deemed “too big to fail.” The government extended trillions of dollars of bailout money and commitments to large financial institutions. Congress passed a $700 billion financial bailout package in October 2008.

Pew: 81 percent of respondents strongly or somewhat favored a way to let Wall Street banks go out of business without taking down other businesses.

Zogby: 70 percent of those polled say banks should not be allowed to be so big that their collapse threatens the rest of the financial sector.

YouGov: 33 percent of those polled said the most important goal in financial overhaul should be reducing or even eliminating the need for bailouts. That was the highest percentage among five potential goals.

Consumer protection

The polling is mixed on new consumer financial protections. Some analysts argue there is strong support for a new federal agency over products like home loans and credit cards, but the polls vary greatly in how they ask the question.

Pew: 86 percent of respondents support giving consumers better information to make decisions on financial products.

Zogby
: 59 percent of those polled said a separate Consumer Financial Protection Agency is needed

YouGov: Only 12 percent of those polled said the goal of financial reform should be creating a new agency with rules about how banks treat customers.