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Behind the Numbers
Posted at 02:29 PM ET, 02/25/2009

Regulating Wall Street: A Popular Prospect

President Obama's pitch this afternoon for reforming regulations on the financial industry will address an issue where the American public is broadly in agreement.

A Washington Post-ABC News poll released earlier this week found more than three-quarters of Americans support stricter federal regulations on the way banks and other financial institutions conduct their business, with nearly half saying the rules should be "much stricter."

Obama previewed the issue during his speech before a joint session of Congress last night, calling for, "tough, new common-sense rules of the road so that our financial market rewards drive and innovation, and punishes short-cuts and abuse."

Majority support for stronger reglations crosses party lines, with 69 percent of Republicans, 74 percent of independents and 86 percent of Democrats in favor of tougher requirements. Even among conservative Republicans, nearly two-thirds favor stronger rules.

Support is widespread whether or not respondents reported being hurt by the recession, as well as across racial, age and gender breaks.

But views on the matter split along income lines, with support for stricter regulation highest among those in households with yearly incomes of $50,000 or higher.

The Post-ABC poll was conducted Feb. 19-22 among a random national sample of 1,001 adults. Results from the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.

Q. Do you support or oppose stricter federal regulations on the way banks and other financial institutions conduct their business? IF SUPPORT: Should these regulations be much stricter, or somewhat stricter?

                 ----- Support ----
                 NET   Much   Smwht   Oppose
All              76     49     27       22

Democrats        86     56     31       13
Independents     74     51     24       23
Republicans      69     41     28       30

Liberals         81     55     26       17
Moderates        85     56     29       13
Conservatives    64     40     24       34

Household income:
Under $50,000    69     44     25       28
$50,000 or more  82     54     28       17

By Jennifer Agiesta  |  02:29 PM ET, 02/25/2009

Categories:  Post Polls

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