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Poll finds doubts about new financial reform

Bloomberg News

Americans harbor doubts that the financial-regulation bill signed into law last week will do what President Barack Obama says it will: help avoid another crisis and make their finances safer, a Bloomberg National Poll shows.

Almost 79 percent surveyed in the July poll say they have just a little or no confidence the measure will prevent or significantly soften a future crisis. A majority, 47 percent, says the bill will do more to protect the financial industry than consumers; 38 percent say consumers would benefit more.

While skeptical about the bill's benefits, Americans don't want a return to the days before the financial markets suffered their biggest turmoil since the Great Depression. Still, almost 60 percent of respondents say the $700-billion Troubled Asset Relief Program was an unnecessary bailout.

"The mood of the American public is highly skeptical toward government and its ability to do right by the average person," says J. Ann Selzer, president of the polling firm, Iowa-based Selzer & Co. "That explains some of the apparent contradiction in seeing a need for more regulation yet having little confidence that what is currently on the table will do much for consumers."

The poll was conducted July 9-12 and was based on interviews with 1,004 U.S. adults. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

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