A Year Later, Many Say Economic Reforms are Lacking

Sep 14, 2009 6:30pm

6:30 p.m. update:

In addition to the skepticism about financial reforms I describe below, our poll finds broad personal damage from the past year’s economic crisis – a landscape of financial woe and psychological stress alike.

A remarkable 47 percent of Americans say someone in their household has taken a pay cut, been laid off or lost a job in the past year. Sixty-five percent say they’ve been hurt financially by the economic meltdown. Fifty-five percent say the current economic situation is a cause of stress in their lives – including one in three who calls it “serious” stress.

More on the poll in the morning…

There’s a push in public opinion behind President Obama’s renewed call today for stricter regulation of the financial industry: A year after the economic meltdown began, many Americans say efforts to avoid future crises have been insufficient.

The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll finds that just under half of Americans, 49 percent, express confidence the federal government is putting measures in place that will make another financial crisis less likely in the future. And a mere 10 percent are “very” confident this is happening.

Industry self-regulation fares even worse: Forty-one percent say they’re confident the nation’s financial institutions themselves will change their business practices to make another meltdown less likely. Fifty-eight percent, instead, think not.

There is naturally, partisanship in these views, with Democrats far more sanguine than Republicans and independents alike. Seventy-one percent of Democrats, for instance, think the government is taking steps to make the country less vulnerable. Just 41 percent of independents and 36 percent of Republicans agree.

Winning over Republicans is probably an insurmountable challenge to the president. But the shortfall on independents, the keystone of presidential politics, is a problem for him.

We covered related views in this morning’s political/health care poll analysis, including a dramatic drop since spring in the president’s advantage over the Republicans in Congress in trust to handle the economy. And we’ll have more, selected results on damage from the economic crisis this evening, with our full report tomorrow morning.

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