In early 2009, in the wake of the biggest financial shocks for decades, the majority (57%) of Americans wanted to clamp down on the financial industry, while only 15% favored less regulation and 16% wanted things to stay the same. However, by September of that year – after the Obama administration proposed a law introducing financial reforms – support had already dropped below 50%. The percentage who wanted less regulation also shot up around this time, particularly among Republicans. Barack Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Act into law in July 2010.  

Support for more regulation has declined across all political groups, though the majority of Democrats remain supportive (52%, down from 72% in Feb. 2009) and the majority of Republicans never were (only a third wanted more regulation in 2009, when a third also wanted less; now 53% want less and only 13% want more). 

Of course, the shift doesn’t translate to overall satisfaction with how Washington dealt with the financial crisis. 51% of Americans say that most of the problems with banks in the 2008 financial crisis have not been fixed, while just 23% think they have. Here there is bipartisan agreement: 48% of Democrats and 50% of Republicans say the problems remain.