The new law increasing regulation of banks and the financial industry
is the only one of five major initiatives passed by Congress that gets support from a majority of Americans, according to a Gallup poll
conducted Aug. 27-30.
Sixty-one percent approve of the legislation that expanded federal banking and securities regulation, brought the trade in derivatives under government oversight for the first time, and created a council of federal regulators to monitor the financial system as well as a new regulator to protect consumers. Thirty-seven percent disapprove of the measure.
The government bailout of financial institutions in danger of failing (known as the Troubled Assets Relief Program or TARP
) is the most unpopular of the five with 61 percent of the public disapproving of it while 37 percent approve. The measure, passed in 2008 towards the end of the Bush administration, has ignited a populist backlash
in this year's midterm election campaigns and many lawmakers who voted for it have found themselves on the defensive.
Fifty-six percent disapprove of the aid government gave to automakers and the health care reform measure that passed last spring. Forty-three percent approve of the aid to automakers and 39 percent back the health care reform legislation.
Fifty-two percent disapprove of the $787 billion economic stimulus package that was passed last year while 43 percent approve of it. This, too, has become a political hot potato in this year's campaigns with Democrats saying it saved large numbers of jobs that would have been lost and Republicans pointing to the stubbornly high unemployment rate as evidence that it had failed to create jobs.
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