The vast majority of Americans believe that government policies favor big banks over the poor and middle class, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center.
Nearly 70% of Americans say that large banks and other financial institutions have benefited significantly from post-recession policies, according to the survey of 1,506 adults this month. Large corporations (67%) and wealthy people (59%) are close behind on the list of perceived beneficiaries.
Meanwhile, more than 70% of Americans say that economic policies have done little to improve the lives of poor people and the middle class. Small businesses have also gotten short shrift, according to 67% of respondents.
The public is split on the question of whether financial regulation goes too far or not far enough. Overall, 48% say that insufficient regulation has put the country at risk of another crisis, while 43% say that overzealous regulation is stifling economic growth.
Opinions on regulation break down along partisan lines. Sixty-four percent of Republicans say that regulations have gone too far, while about a third believe that more regulation is necessary. The figures are reversed among Democrats. The margin among independents is narrower, with 51% pushing for more regulation and 41% arguing for less.
Regardless of party affiliation, 41% of the public believes that the GOP is the party best equipped to deal with banks and financial institutions, while 35% put their faith in Democrats. When the question was last posed in April 2010, during congressional debate on bank regulations, opinion was evenly divided: 36% of respondents sided with each party.