Majority of Democrat, Republican Voters Want Tougher Wall Street Regulations: Poll

A majority of Democrat, Republican and independent voters support increased regulations on Wall Street and financial institutions, a new poll showed.

Nearly 9 in 10 U.S. voters of all political affiliations said it is important to enforce current government regulations on financial companies, citing fears stemming from the 2008 financial crisis and Great Recession, the data showed. An overwhelming majority of Democrats—91 percent—in the early voting states Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina said it's important to regulate Wall Street firms and behavior. And a majority of Republicans, or 60 percent, said they support more government regulation of U.S. financial companies.

The message from the two dominant parties was clear: The checks and balances on the nation's financial institutions should remain the same or be stronger. And Wall Street should be held accountable for crises it creates, the data showed.

"The memory of the financial crisis and subsequent recession has been searing, but Wall Street's behavior since then has also given voters every reason to want a tougher approach," Lisa Donner, executive director of nonpartisan finance reform group Americans for Financial Reform, said in a statement. "From Wells Fargo's abuse of its own customers, to private equity looting, to the dangerous impact of the money the industry has injected into the political process, Wall Street itself makes the case for why we need more, not less accountability, and deeper change."

The poll was commissioned by Americans for Financial Reform and Center for Responsible Lending and conducted by Lake Research Partners, a progressive political strategist group and Chesapeake Bay Consulting, a corporate leadership firm.

The survey of more than 1,000 likely November 2020 election voters found that most self-described Republicans, independents and Democrats agreed that the benefits of regulating U.S. financial companies and legislation such as the 2010 Dodd-Frank consumer protection laws are important. They also overwhelmingly supported the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which polices the marketplace on behalf of ordinary Americans. And 58 percent of Americans of all political affiliations said financial companies have too much control and influence over the U.S. economy.

The snapshot of voter sentiment contrasts with Trump Administration policies. In 2018, for example, Congress voted in favor of a Republican Senate bill to roll back several parts of Dodd-Frank with the support of President Donald Trump, who previously vowed to "do a big number on Dodd-Frank." Despite campaigning against the excesses of Wall Street in 2016, the Trump administration has lowered capital requirements, reduced financial stress testing and pulled back on consumer loan protections, according to several consumer protection agencies.

Steven Mnuchin, U.S. Treasury secretary, right, displays a 2017 50 subject uncut sheet of $1 dollar notes bearing Mnuchin's name for his wife Louise Linton at the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017. A change in the Senate tax-overhaul plan that would expand a temporary income-tax break for partnerships, limited liability companies and other so-called 'pass-through' businesses won the endorsement of a national small-business group today. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images