Public Backs Regulation of Big Banks

Between health care, the State of the Union, and the budget, Obama’s proposals for financial regulatory reform, including tough new moves to reduce risk-taking by our country’s largest banks, haven’t gotten all the attention they should. But these proposals are highly significant as policy and are likely to be debated in Congress quite soon. They are also likely to tap into a wellspring of public support for this kind of tough approach.

For example, in a late January CNN poll, 64 percent of the public said it was extremely or very important for the president and Congress to deal with “regulation on big banks” this year.

In the same poll, respondents were asked whether they favored or opposed new government regulations to “limit the size and activities of the country’s largest banks.” By a wide 62-35 margin, the public said they favored such regulations.

Obama’s proposals appear to strike a responsive chord in the public. Now it’s up to policymakers to follow through.

Ruy Teixeira is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. To learn more about his public opinion analysis go to the Media and Progressive Values page and the Progressive Studies program page of our website.