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Wall Street Reform: One Year Anniversary: Findings from a Survey of Likely November 2012 Voters

A poll conducted by Lake Research Partners for AARP, the Center for Responsible Lending and Americans for Financial Reform examined how likely November 2012 voters feel about Wall Street Reform.  Voters broadly and strongly support Wall Street reform. They support it in principle, they support it in law, they support the individual components of the reform law and they want it to be allowed to take effect. After hearing arguments in support and in opposition, voters across party lines still solidly support the Wall Street reform law. Conventional wisdom tells us that nobody wants government regulation and bureaucracy. In reality, voters don’t buy this argument when it comes to Wall Street reform and start out believing we need more government regulation of financial companies. They support having a single federal agency with the single mission of protecting consumers from financial companies and reject the false argument that Wall Street reform stands in the way of getting our economy back on track.

Key findings include:

  • Voters are not scared off by government oversight. They strongly favor government regulating financial companies. A majority (63%) of voters, including 61% of independents, want more government oversight of financial companies. Just 1 in 4 want less government oversight.
  • Voters want a single agency with the single mission of protecting consumers from banks, financial institutions and credit card companies. Voters across party lines support the specific functions of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau:
    • Nearly three‐quarters of voters (74%) are in favor of having a single agency with the single mission of protecting consumers from financial companies. Support holds across party lines, with 83% of Democrats, 73% of independents and 68% of Republicans in favor.
    • Almost all voters (93%) favor requiring credit card companies, banks, and other lenders to provide clearer explanations of their rates and fees. 
  • Upon learning that the Wall Street reform law has been passed, but hasn’t fully taken effect, voters strongly support having the law take effect rather than be repealed. By more than a 3 to 1 margin, voters want the law to fully take effect (63% to 20%). Among independents, the margin is 4 to 1 (63% to 16%).
  • Many would punish members of Congress at the ballot box if they voted to repeal the Wall Street reform law.
  • After hearing strong arguments from both sides of the debate, voters reject attacks on the Wall Street reform law. They want Wall Street to be held accountable and prevented from repeating the same actions again.

This telephone survey among 804 likely voters was conducted by Lake Research Partners from July 10-13, 2011. The sample was drawn randomly from a file of likely November 2012 voters. The data were weighted by age, race, education level and party identification to reflect the likely 2012 electorate.

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