AP-GfK Poll: Public not confident that new financial regulations will avert future crisis

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans aren't convinced new Wall Street rules will prevent a future financial crisis.

An Associated Press-GfK Poll finds that 64 percent of those surveyed aren't confident that a financial regulation overhaul before Congress will avert another meltdown.

Lawmakers concede that they can't predict what a future emergency might look like and have designed the sweeping bill to avoid a recurrence of the 2008 financial collapse.

The legislation, now in its final stages, would force regulators to watch for financial threats, set up new consumer protections and police previously unregulated financial products.

The poll shows that Americans spread the blame for the last crisis widely: 8 in 10 blame banks for the crisis, while 7 in 10 blame the government. About 6 in 10 blame people who borrowed money that they couldn't afford to repay, while less than a quarter blame President Barack Obama, who was came into office after the meltdown.

Amid competing news, particularly the Gulf oil spill, only one-quarter of poll respondents said they were very closely or extremely closely following news about the Wall Street legislation.

Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed described their personal financial situation as good or leaning toward good — a growing trend over the past year. But 19 percent believed the economy had improved over the past month, down from the 25 percent who thought it had improved a month ago.

The AP-GfK Poll was conducted by GfK Roper Public Affairs & Corporate Communications from June 9-14, 2010. It is based on landline and cell phone interviews with a nationally representative random sample of 1,044 adults and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.3 percentage points.