In the past, Wall Street-backed politicians of both parties have counted on the voting public not to pay attention to banking and financial issues so they could reward their big bank donors with deregulation and tax breaks. That calculus changed with the financial crisis in 2008. Consistently since, voters of all parties have said they want to curb Wall Street’s influence in Washington, and they want elected leaders who will stand up to the big banks.
It’s Take On Wall Street’s job to get the politicians to listen to them. One of the ways we do that is to continually bust the myth that Americans don’t care about the financial system, or aren’t watching.
We did our own national poll in 2018, and we found that people were willing to vote their concerns over the financial industry’s role in perpetuating racial discrimination and economic inequality, the tax bill as first and foremost a gift to Wall Street, and the importance of government working for all Americans, not just campaign donors and Wall Street banks.
Here’s a round-up of recent polling on the subject of Wall Street and finance which we keep up to date. (Got a poll we missed? Email us.)
“Americans Believe Washington Is Broken, the Economy Benefits the Rich, and Are Concerned About a Cover-Up“, Navigator Research, January 7, 2019.
- Americans believe H.R.1, a package of anti-corruption and ethics reforms proposed by the incoming House majority, addresses real problems with the political system. Direct language about what the legislation will do, and how it will impact political behavior today, resonates more than language about reforming democracy itself. The economy still gets positive marks, but there is trouble beneath the surface for the Trump administration, as Americans are far more likely to believe Trump has helped wealthy people and corporations than believe he has helped regular people like them.
“Polling Suggests Support Among Voters for Harsher Wall Street Messaging: Democrats are likely to sharpen their rhetoric toward big banks and Wall Street ahead of 2020,” by Claire Williams, Morning Consult, December 7, 2018.
- People want to rein in the big banks and Wall Street even more than oil and gas companies and Comcast. Large banks were second only to health insurers among industries voters thought had “not enough” regulation.
“Public opinion 10 years after the financial crash,” by Karlyn Bowman, American Enterprise Institute, September 10, 2018.
- A meta-polling exercise, the piece notes that confidence in the banks tracks predictably with financial crises
- However, in early 2018, ten years after the last crash, a Gallup poll reported that still only 3 in 10 Americans had high confidence in banks, while 2 in 10 Americans had very little or none. Confidence is lower still in people running banks and financial institutions.
“The Koch Brothers Commissioned a Survey of Americans and Found Most Like a $15 Minimum Wage, Free College, and Universal Health Care“,” by Nick Sergey and Zaid Jilani, The Intercept, August 9, 2018.
- 69% of Americans surveyed by the Koch network supported “more regulation of Wall Street.”
“New Poll Shows Voters Oppose Mulvaney Policies at CFPB: Support Grows for Wall Street Oversight, Ten Years After Financial Crisis,” Americans for Financial Reform & Center for Responsible Lending, July 31, 2018.
- This annual poll’s key findings include that a majority of Democrats (64%), independents (67%) and Republicans (56%) all say that stronger enforcement of financial protection laws will affect them personally; 66% of respondents agreed that student loan debt had reached a crisis; and 80% of voters polled were concerned about the current CFPB leadership’s efforts to curb enforcement of fair lending rules.
“Key Findings from Battleground Congressional District Survey on Curbing Wall Street’s Influence,” Take On Wall Street, May 29, 2018.
- Take On Wall Street did its own nationwide survey of likely 2018 voters in key battleground congressional districts, which revealed overwhelming, broad-based, and intense support for curbing big banks’ influence in Washington.
- The issues that resonated most center around the financial industry’s role in perpetuating racial discrimination and economic inequality, the tax bill as first and foremost a gift to Wall Street, and the importance of government working for all Americans, not just campaign donors and Wall Street banks.
“The Daily 202: A poll commissioned by Bush and Biden shows Americans losing confidence in democracy,” by James Hohmann, The Washington Post, June 26, 2018.
- “3 in 4 Americans think that ‘the laws enacted by our national government these days mostly reflect what powerful special interests and their lobbyists want.’ This includes 81 percent of Democrats and 70 percent of Republicans. Just 17 percent of Americans agreed with the alternative statement: ‘The laws enacted by our national government these days mostly reflect what the people want.’”
- “Overall, 8 in 10 Americans think ‘the influence of money in politics’ is getting worse, rather than better.”
The 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer: Financial Services, March 29, 2018.
- After steady increases in trust over last five years, in 2018 the “data revealed six double-digit trust declines among the informed public segment, including a 20-point drop in the U.S.”
- Poll attributes lack of trust in financial services to need to balance technology with the “personal touch.”
Race Class Narrative, Demos, ASO Communications, and Ian Haney-López, 2018-present.
- Both economic and racial justice are core progressive priorities, but they are often discussed separately. This ongoing research project has used polling and focus groups to demonstrate how to build a truly multi-racial progressive coalition that can win a better future for people of all races.
- The key for cross-racial solidarity, voter engagement, and policy victories is addressing the connections between racial divisions and economic hardship.
- The project produced empirical data that support tackling racism as a divide-and-conquer tactic that creates distrust, undermines belief in government, and causes economic pain for everyone, of every color.
The Peoria Project, Catalist, 2017-2018
- Over the past year, Catalist undertook an ambitious research project to examine Americans’ core beliefs across the full political spectrum.
- Work led to a new view of the public, clustered into nine segments around people’s values, rather than their demographics or voting behaviors.
2018 Progressive Narrative Project, MoveOn, SEIU, the Sierra Club, NARAL Pro-Choice America, CPD Action, and Working Families Party, 2018.
- Over the first half of 2018, MoveOn, SEIU, the Sierra Club, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Center for Popular Democracy Action, and the Working Families Party undertook a project to develop and test electoral narratives that could serve to help lay the groundwork for a wave election in November.
- They found three narratives–”communities under attack,” “rigged,” and “freedom-protect”–to be the most powerful at motivating base to turn out in this election.
Navigator Research: A Guide for Advocates, March-April 2018.
- “Donors. Donors. Donors. It’s the influence of “wealthy campaign donors” – followed by specific examples of groups that give donations, like the NRA, Wall Street or Big Oil – that concerns Americans the most.”
- “The problem of enrichment – where politicians use their position to make money for themselves or their donors – bothers Americans more than influence – where lobbyists and donors have control over politicians’ policy decisions.”