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How Democrats failed to convince voters on Wall Street reform

By Jia Lynn Yang

midtermmoney.gifMarc Ambinder at the Atlantic points to this intriguing polling from Tuesday:

Who's to blame for the economy? Bankers (34%), Bush (29%), Obama (24%). Of those who blame bankers, Republicans hold an 11 point advantage.

How is this possible given that one of the Democrats' major legislative initiatives was financial reform, which was intended to be a massive check on Wall Street?

The benefits of running on the financial regulation bill were dubious -- but not because Americans opposed tough reform. They felt that Dodd-Frank didn't go far enough. A survey by economists at the University of Chicago and Northwestern University showed that only 12 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with the financial overhaul. Two-thirds said it didn't do enough. Among Democrats, only 35 percent responded they were "satisfied" or "very satisfied." Roughly half of independents said they were unhappy with it, as did 80 percent of Republicans.

So voters didn't like Dodd-Frank very much. Add to that the perception that Democrats were behind the bailout of the banks and it's no wonder that Democrats failed to build credibility among those who blame Wall Street for the state of the economy.

By Jia Lynn Yang  | November 3, 2010; 11:34 AM ET
Categories:  2010 Elections, Financial regulation  
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