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TO: Allied Progress

FROM: Global Strategy Group


DATE: Monday, February 12, 2018
RE: POLL RESULTS: Voters Broadly Favorable to the Consumer Bureau and Its Mission and
Concerned about the Short List for the next Director

As President Trump and Mick Mulvaney attempt to roll back consumer protections and undermine the
mission of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to act as an effective check against unfair,
deceptive, and abusive practices in the financial sector, recent poll results indicate that voters are
broadly supportive of the agency and its intended mission. Voters oppose efforts to weaken, diminish,
or dismantle the agency, and even Republican voters and voters who are favorable to Trump strongly
oppose dismantling the Consumer Bureau and shifting its functions to other agencies.

Opposition to reducing the CFPB’s role is boosted by its high favorability ratings among voters –
including Republican voters – which have risen since GSG last tracked the agency’s favorability in
August. Across party lines, voters are also broadly supportive of the CFPB’s goals and mission, especially
its role in preventing hidden and outrageous fees and taking action against predatory companies. Voters
also indicate they are unhappy with Mulvaney’s job performance as “Acting Director,” and the steps he
has taken to prevent the agency from fulfilling its mission raise alarm bells.

As President Trump’s search continues for a nominee to serve as Director of the Consumer Bureau, our
results indicate that voters have a very clear idea of what they want (and what they do not want) in the
person to fill that post. First and foremost, voters are looking for a nominee who will uphold the mission
of the agency by defending consumers and holding bad financial actors accountable. While voters
believe potential nominees for the position should have some background in finance and banking, most
place greater value on experience working for the CFPB. Voters are particularly distrustful that those
with a history of defending financial industries or taking campaign contributions from companies
regulated by the Bureau will be able to adequately perform their duties as Director. Voters are also in
broad agreement that President Trump should compromise and nominate a Director who can earn the
bipartisan support of both Republicans and Democrats.

Regardless of their party affiliation, once voters hear information about shortlisted candidates for CFPB
Director – especially messages that expose the shortlisted candidates’ close relationships with
companies and industries that are regulated by the Bureau – they overwhelmingly oppose the
appointments of Jeb Hensarling, Keith Noreika, Todd Zywicki, and J. Mark McWatters.

Key findings from Global Strategy Group’s recent telephone poll of 800 registered voters nationwide:

Voters hold net positive feelings towards the CFPB, regardless of their party affiliation. Across the
political spectrum, voters view the Consumer Bureau favorably (overall: 51% fav/16% unfav), with
Democrats (62% fav/12% unfav) and Republicans (46% fav/20% unfav) holding slightly more positive
opinions than independents (32% fav/22% unfav).

NEW YORK | WASHINGTON, D.C. | HARTFORD | DENVER | CHICAGO GLOBAL STRATEGY GROUP.COM
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Voters feel positively toward the CFPB despite not having heard much about the agency recently (10%
have heard a lot about the CFPB recently/19% have heard some). Awareness of recent news around the
CFPB is particularly low among independents (8% a lot/20% some) and Republicans (7% a lot/12%
some), with Democrats (14% a lot/26% some) hearing slightly more about the Consumer Bureau
recently.

Voters value the mission of the CFPB, particularly its role in preventing outrageous and hidden fees
and taking action against predatory companies. Across party lines, voters believe the mission and goals
of the CFPB are very important, particularly when it comes to stopping financial institutions from
charging outrageous and hidden fees and interest rates (85% very important) and taking action against
companies that violate the law with unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices (85%). Enforcing laws
that ban discrimination in consumer finance (75%), protecting student loan borrowers (72%), and
monitoring financial markets for new risks (58%) form the next tier of CFPB roles that voters value.

Do you think each of the following is important when it comes to protecting U.S. consumers?
% very important
Total Dems Ind GOP
Stops financial institutions from charging outrageous or hidden fees and
85 92 83 79
interest rates
Takes action against companies that violate the law with unfair, deceptive, or
85 92 81 78
abusive acts or practices

Enforces laws that ban discrimination in consumer finance 75 86 71 64

Protects student loan borrowers by stopping loan processors from making it


72 80 71 62
harder for borrowers to pay off their loans

Monitors financial markets for new risks to consumers and the economy 58 67 54 48

Efforts to roll back the CFPB’s rules and regulations face solid opposition from voters, and even higher
numbers oppose dismantling the agency altogether – including Republicans and Trump supporters.
Opposition to rolling back some of the CFPB’s rules and regulations reaches double-digits among voters
overall (27% support/63% oppose), Democrats (10% support/85% oppose), and independents (22%
support/64% oppose), with only Republicans (47% support/39% oppose) in favor.

Would you support or oppose rolling back some


of the CFPB’s rules and regulations?
Audience Support Oppose
Overall 27 63
Democrats 10 85
Independents 22 64
Republicans 47 39
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Opposition to dismantling the CFPB altogether is even more broad and extends across partisan lines.
Voters overall (14% support/77% oppose), Democrats (4% support/94% oppose) and independents (14%
support/73% oppose) are staunchly against efforts to dismantle the Bureau, and opposition greatly
outpaces support even among Republicans (25% support/60% oppose) and Trump supporters (28%
support/57% oppose).

Would you support or oppose efforts to dismantle the Consumer Bureau?


∆ in Oppose
Audience Support Oppose
from Previous
Overall 14 77 +14
Democrats 4 94 +9
Independents 14 73 +9
Republicans 25 60 +21

Favorable to Trump 28 57 +27

Voters know what they want in a Consumer Bureau director and are broadly concerned about Mick
Mulvaney’s performance as “Acting Director.” Voters are looking for a CFPB Director who stands up for
consumers (70% much more likely to think someone who does this would do a good job as Director) and
holds bad financial institutions accountable (66% much more likely). On the flip side, voters indicate
they would oppose a director with a record of siding with financial institutions they oversaw as regulator
(62% say they would be less likely to think someone who does this would do a good job as Director),
defending big banks and Wall Street (72% less likely), and accepting campaign contributions from
industries regulated by the CFPB (75% less likely).

If a person did each of the following, would it make you more or less likely to think
they would do a good job as Consumer Bureau Director?
More likely Less likely
Stands up for consumers 91 5
Holds bad financial institutions accountable 89 8
Previously worked for the CFPB 75 13
Worked in finance and banking 64 26
Worked on Wall Street 35 50
Wants to loosen financial regulations 30 57
Regularly sided with the financial industries he oversaw as regulator 24 62
Defended big banks and Wall Street 19 72
Took campaign contributions from industries regulated by the CFPB 14 75

“Acting Director” Mick Mulvaney’s record serves as a stark contrast to voters’ ideal Consumer Bureau
director. Voters are particularly concerned that Mulvaney has prevented the CFPB from achieving its
mission by freezing data collection used to protect consumers, freezing hiring of additional personnel,
and freezing payments to victims of financial crime (72% convincing as a reason to oppose Mulvaney
serving as “Acting Director,” including 51% very convincing). This raises strong concerns across partisan
lines (82% convincing among Democrats, 74% among independents, and 60% among Republicans).
Voters are also broadly concerned that “Acting Director” Mulvaney serves as the head of the Consumer
Bureau in addition to his position as Director of the Office of Management and Budget, a clear conflict of
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interest that would jeopardize the Consumer Bureau’s mission as an independent agency (70%
convincing).

Reasons to Oppose Mulvaney Serving as Acting Director


% convincing
Total Dems Ind GOP
Since Mick Mulvaney became “Acting Director” of the Consumer Bureau, he has
prevented the agency from fulfilling its mission. He froze data collection used to
72 82 74 60
protect consumers, froze the hiring of additional personnel to hold banks and
predatory lenders accountable, and even froze payments to victims of financial crime.
In addition to his position as “Acting Director” of the Consumer Bureau, Mick
Mulvaney is also the Director of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget.
Serving as the head of the Consumer Bureau, which was designed to be an 70 88 71 48
independent body, while also working for the White House, is a clear conflict of
interest and would jeopardize the consumer bureau’s mission.

There is broad agreement across partisan lines that the next Director should uphold the mission and
goals of the CFPB rather than dismantling the agency. Voters overall (87% uphold/9% dismantle) and
overwhelming majorities of Democrats (94%/3%), independents (84%/11%), Republicans (79%/15%),
and voters who are favorable to Trump (79%/16%) favor a Director who will look out for consumers and
hold bad financial actors accountable over one who will dismantle the agency and shift its functions to
other agencies.

Voters want President Trump to compromise and appoint a Director who can earn the bipartisan
support of both Republicans and Democrats. By wide margins, voters across the political spectrum say
it is important for President Trump to compromise and appoint a Director who can earn bipartisan
support (85% important, including 65% very important/13% not important). Democrats are most likely
to value this compromise (92% important, including 77% very important/6% not), followed by
independents (81%, including 63% very/13% not), and Republicans (78%, 52% very/20% not).

How important is it to you that President Trump compromise and


appoint a Director of the Consumer Bureau who can earn the
bipartisan support of both Republicans and Democrats?
% Very % Total
Audience
important important
Overall 65 85
Democrats 77 92
Independents 63 81
Republicans 52 78
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The most effective messages against the shortlisted nominees expose their close relationships with
companies and industries that are regulated by the CFPB and illustrate how nominees have sought to
undermine the work of the Consumer Bureau in the past. All four of the top messages we tested
against the shortlisted nominees are very concerning to at least 50% of voters, including majorities or
near-majorities of independent voters.

Top Negative Messages Against Shortlisted CFPB Directors


% very concerning
Total Dems Ind GOP
Jeb Hensarling has deep ties to Wall Street and bad financial actors. He worked for two Texas
businessmen who made $550 million in illegal investment gains and gave Hensarling $68,000
65 78 63 48
in campaign contributions. Hensarling also received over $3 million from other donors in the
financial industry from 2010 to 2014.
Keith Noreika championed the repeal of the Consumer Bureau's arbitration rule, which
protects the right of American consumers to go to court when they have been wronged by 64 79 65 45
companies like Wells Fargo and Equifax.
Todd Zywicki's consulting firm brags about being hired by the financial industry to fight the
Consumer Bureau. His firm's clients include big banks like Bank of America, Visa, and
63 83 57 44
Citigroup, as well as a debt-relief company accused by the Consumer Bureau of deceiving
consumers and charging illegal upfront fees.
While serving as head of the National Credit Union Administration, J. Mark McWatters has
faced questions from members of Congress about more than $1 billion in fees paid to two
53 67 53 40
outside law firms. While he denied culpability for the fee arrangements, McWatters admitted
the fees were "regrettably excessive."

Following messaging, voters oppose Trump nominating Jeb Hensarling, Keith Noreika, Todd Zywicki,
and J. Mark McWatters as Director of the CFPB by margins of at least three to one. Opposition to all
four nominations significantly outpaces support across demographic and partisan lines after voters hear
messaging about them.

Based on what you’ve heard, would you support or oppose President Trump nominating
[NOMINEE NAME] as Director of the Consumer Bureau?
Jeb Hensarling Keith Noreika Todd Zywicki J. Mark McWatters
Audience
Support Oppose Support Oppose Support Oppose Support Oppose
Overall 13 80 14 79 18 76 21 71
Democrats 3 95 7 90 4 95 8 89
Independents 12 80 9 73 15 72 21 69
Republicans 26 62 23 66 34 57 35 54
Favorable to Trump 28 59 27 59 36 53 40 49

ABOUT THIS POLL


Global Strategy Group conducted an 800-interview telephone survey of registered voters nationwide between January 2nd
and January 7th , 2018. Care has been taken to ensure that the partisan, geographic, and demographic divisions of the
electorate are properly represented by the survey’s respondents.