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Survey Findings: Public Attitudes on Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac & Housing Reform

Survey Findings: Public Attitudes on Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac & Housing Reform

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Memo highlighting results of survey research commissioned by the American Action Forum examining public attitudes on housing finance and potential regulatory reform measures of government-sponsored enterprises (GSE’s). Among the key findings, the survey found that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are widely recognized (name recognition of 72%), are viewed extremely unfavorably (20% favorable/52% unfavorable), and there is majority support for phasing out the housing giants (52% to 32%).
Memo highlighting results of survey research commissioned by the American Action Forum examining public attitudes on housing finance and potential regulatory reform measures of government-sponsored enterprises (GSE’s). Among the key findings, the survey found that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are widely recognized (name recognition of 72%), are viewed extremely unfavorably (20% favorable/52% unfavorable), and there is majority support for phasing out the housing giants (52% to 32%).

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Published by: American Action Forum on Jul 15, 2013
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07/16/2013

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MEMORANDUMTO: American Action ForumFROM: Wes AndersonDATE: 7/15/13RE: Survey of Public Viewpoints on Policy Toward Fannie/FreddieMethodology
The following survey was conducted by OnMessage Inc. within 18 congressional districts. Telephoneinterviews were conducted June 17-20, 2013. This survey consists of 1,200 likely voters. Interviews were stratified by previous election results to reflect historic voter trends. The margin of error for this survey is+/- 2.82%.
We recently came out of the field with a survey for American Action Forum of 18 congressional districtsacross the United States, investigating various regulatory reform measures for the financial servicesindustry currently being discussed in Congress. These districts were broken into three groups to gain anunderstanding of the views of different parts of the population. The groupings were as follows:conservative districts, districts where Romney garnered less than 47% (R in D seats), and pure swingdistricts.
Overarching Findings:
 
The Fannie Mae / Freddie Mac surprise.
o
 
We were surprised that a large majority of the voters have a hard ID of Fannie andFreddie. They are viewed favorably by only 20% and unfavorably by 52%. This is anet negative -32, with even a net negative -12 among Democrats. Coming out of thefinancial crisis of 2008, Fannie and Freddie took on the role of central villains andhave not recovered. The public image of these two entities is nearly toxic!
 
Greatest concern with Wall Street & the banking industry.
o
 
52% of the voters said that their greatest concern is either no accountability of banksand Wall Street or that Wall Street banks are so big that if they fail the taxpayers willhave to bail them out again. Somewhat surprisingly, the biggest issue the voters havewith Wall Street is not directly related to consumer products or services, but rather the sway Wall Street has over our economy. That finding is echoed throughout thesurvey and helps explain why the fear of further, massive bailouts of Wall Streetfirms is both pervasive and persuasive.
 
Bailout and Response:
 
Bailout Policy
o
 
By a small margin (+11) voters are still unfavorable toward the bank bailouts of TARP. However, voters within the R in D seats are fairly evenly split.
 
Effectiveness of banking regulations.
o
 
Voters are split on the effectiveness of recent banking regulations (38% more harmthan good / 41% been helpful). More importantly, neither supporters nor opponentsof these new regulations reach 50%. The real finding here is that the voters knowvery little of this subject and therefore have not formed an opinion on the matter.
Fannie/Freddie Policy
 
Fannie & Freddie phase out.
o
 
A majority favor (52%) phasing out both Fannie and Freddie with even a plurality of voters in R in D seats supporting phase out. At the start of this debate Fannie andFreddie have few friends among the voters.
 
Fannie / Freddie informed favorability.
o
 
When informed that Fannie and Freddie played an instrumental role in the housing bubble and received nearly $200 billion dollars in a bailout,
voters’
opposition toFannie and Freddie moves to 59%, including even 51% of Democrats. Thesearguments are particularly potent in shaping public opinion on Fannie and Freddie.Additionally, the notion that Fannie and Freddie could require more public money infuture bailouts is unacceptable to a sizable majority of the voters.
 
Arguments for Fannie / Freddie phase out.
o
 
The following two arguments were the most prominent in support of phase out.
Message OverallConservativeDistrictsRep inDemSeatsSwingDistrictsWhile the taxpayers were bailing them out, Fannie Mae andFreddie Mac were committing accounting fraud while their executives were receiving millions of dollars in bonuses57/24 58/22 57/26 56/26Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have required massive taxpayer  bailouts and should be phased out because homeowners whoare struggling to
 pay their own mortgage shouldn’t be forced to pay for their neighbor’s mortgage too.
 56/23 57/21 56/26 55/24

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