Three out of four U.S. voters strongly support federal reforms enacted two years ago to reign in Wall Street after the 2008 financial meltdown, a new survey says.
The national survey, commissioned by AARP, the Center for Responsible Lending, Americans for Financial Reform and the National Council of La Raza, marks the two-year anniversary of the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act that created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
Among the survey findings, respondents indicated they favor the Dodd-Frank financial reform law by a 53-point margin (73% to 20%). The support also crosses party lines, with Republicans in favor by a 20-point margin, independents by a 50-point margin and Democrats by an 83-point margin.
In addition, two-thirds of the respondents-including 78% of Republicans-support a state's right to pass and enforce stronger consumer protections and preventing federal law from overriding them.
Those surveyed also support formation of the CFPB by a 40-point margin. Sixty-six percent of voters overall and 69% of independents indicated that the CFPB is much needed.
"The data demonstrates remarkably strong and broad support both for Wall Street reform and for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in particular," said David Mermin, partner of Lake Research Partners and one of five panelists who outlined the survey's highlights in Washington D.C. today. "Voters are also strongly in favor of some of the particular actions and responsibilities of the CFPB, and are intensely supportive of more accountability for Wall Street, more oversight and stronger consumer protections."
"The message for Congress is unmistakable," said Lisa Donner, executive director of Americans for Financial Reform. "Voters across the board are intensely supportive of stronger consumer protections. And strong majorities of voters across party lines say we need tougher rules for Wall Street and they do not want Congress to override a state's ability to enforce stronger consumer protections at the state level."
Cristina Martin-Firvida, director of Financial Security and Consumer Affairs for the AARP, said that before the Dodd-Frank Act was enacted, many older Americans lost their savings due to a weak and outdated financial regulatory system. She says the survey demonstrates that the 50-plus population wants the protections afforded by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and consumer protection so that more accountability will be provided to adequately protect their financial assets.
Gary Kalman, director of federal policy for the Center for Responsible Lending, said the bipartisan support shouldn't be a surprise. "Who hasn't been hurt by the economic downturn? " Kalman said. "People get that common sense oversight could have prevented it."
Jose A. Garcia, a policy fellow with the Wealth-Building Policy Project of the National Council of La Raza, said Latino voters, regardless of party affiliation, overwhelmingly support stronger consumer protections "as a means to ending decades of costly and deceptive credit that disproportionally affects Latino families."
Conducted by Lake Research Partners July 5-10, the survey questioned 803 respondents who were 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.