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Public Opinion Snapshot: The Public and Wall Street

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As Congress continues to debate the financial regulation bill there are a couple of things it should keep in mind. One is that the public doesn’t trust Wall Street anymore—not even on the level of ordinary investing in the stock market (much less the elaborate financial shenanigans Wall Street firms have recently engaged in). According to the new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, just 35 percent now believe that “the stock market is a fair and open way to invest one’s money” compared to 58 percent who do not believe the stock market is now fair and open due to “corporate corruption and broker practices.”

No wonder the public, by 55-38, says they are more concerned that proposed reform of financial regulations will not do “enough to protect consumers and rein in Wall Street” rather than that reform might limit investment opportunities and hurt the country’s ability to compete in financial markets.

Lawmakers who are thinking of weakening the reform legislation—perhaps under pressure from the legions of financial industry lobbyists who have descended on Washington—might want to reconsider. The public is likely to take a very jaundiced view indeed of any legislators who appear to be doing the financial industry’s bidding on this bill.

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.

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This is part of a regular column: Public Opinion Snapshot

For more from the same column, click here