Only 34 Percent Support More Financial Regulations, Survey Shows

By Matt Cover | March 1, 2010 | 6:14 PM EST

President Barack Obama speaks to members of the National Governors Association, Monday, Feb. 22, 2010, in the State Dinning Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

( – Only 34 percent of Americans say the government should impose further regulations on the country’s financial industry, according to a Rasmussen Reports survey published on Feb. 26.
The survey also revealed that a plurality – 47 percent – oppose more government regulation of banks and investment houses, a figure that has declined slightly from the 52 percent opposition observed in December 2009.
In addition, the survey found that 19 percent of the country is unsure whether the Obama administration should continue to pursue one of its top priorities: overhauling the nation’s financial regulatory structure by adding new regulations on banks and possibly creating a single super-regulator of the financial industry.
Support for greater regulation, while slight, has grown since December, when Rasmussen found that a mere 28 percent of Americans supported the idea. Americans’ support for the proposal has returned to the level it was in June when Obama first broached the subject, calling for increased federal regulations.
Americans are evenly split on the merits of creating a single super regulator for the financial industry. Forty-three percent support the idea while 41 percent oppose it, with 15 percent undecided.
A small majority of Democrats – 54 percent – support Obama’s drive for greater financial regulations. Republicans are nearly united in opposition to the plan, with 75 percent of GOP respondents saying greater regulation was a bad idea.
The proposal also fares poorly with Independent voters – only 34 percent back greater financial regulation while 41 percent oppose it.
These results appear to reflect a broader skepticism of government’s ability to act in economic and financial matters. Rasmussen reported on Feb. 20 that a majority – 51 percent – of Americans thought that business leaders made better economic decisions than federal officials.
A mere 33 percent thought that decisions made by federal officials would result in a better job of growing the economy than the decisions of business-people.
In fact, only 51 percent of Democrats placed greater faith in government, according to the survey. Seventy percent of Republicans and 49 percent of Independents thought that businesses’ decisions were better than those of the government for the economy.
The Obama administration’s plans for levying greater regulations on banks and other financial institutions is currently stalled in the Senate where Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) is reportedly negotiating with Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.).
According to the Washington Post, Dodd has dropped the super-regulator agency from the proposal in an effort to win Republican votes and move the bill through the Senate.
Originally, the plan called for the creation of the new, stand-alone super-regulator to replace myriad federal financial regulators, bringing the regulation of all parts of the financial industry under one roof. According to the Post, those powers will now be given to the Treasury Department.