Poll: 71% of Voters Support Strong Regulation to Protect the Public

Poll Shows Overwhelming Bipartisan Support for Regulation Protecting Workers, Public Health, Our Environment

For Immediate Release:
Nov. 17, 2020

Contact: David Rosen, drosen@citizen.org, (202) 588-7742
Rachel Weintraub, rweintraub@consumerfed.org, (202) 904-4953
Ethan Winter, ethan@dataforprogress.org, (603) 227-0491

WASHIGNTON, D.C. – More than seven out of 10 voters say that regulations play an important role in keeping workers safe, protecting our environment and making sure that everyone has a fair shot, according to a new poll released today conducted by Data for Progress.

The Coalition for Sensible Safeguards (CSS) – led by Public Citizen, Consumer Federation of America, the AFL-CIO, the Center for Progressive Reform, the Economic Policy Institute and the Union of Concerned Scientists – is touting the poll’s findings, saying they bolster the case that the Biden administration should rebuild the regulatory process to better serve people and communities.

“Our message to the incoming administration is this: Likely voters support bold regulatory action. Government officials should not be afraid to commit to rebuilding our weakened regulatory system and resolutely advancing the public interest through effective use of regulations,” the polling memo reads.

The polling found that:

  • 81% of Democrats and 62% of Republicans back regulation;
  • 65% of voters want public and community input reflected in the rulemaking process, including input from workers (64%) and scientists (51%), while 55% want billionaires to have less of a say in federal regulation;
  • At least three out of four voters want regulators to safeguard workers (81%), protect everyday people (77%), save lives and reduce injuries (76%), and protect our environment (75%);
  • At least three out of five voters want regulators to deal with climate change (67%), reduce income inequality (65%) and promote gender equality (60%);
  • Nearly three out of four voters want to depoliticize the rulemaking process by requiring disclosure of White House interference in the rulemaking process; and
  • In addressing the coronavirus, voters want protecting public health prioritized over the economy when they conflict by a 35-point margin.

“This polling serves as a correction to the conventional wisdom that ‘regulation’ is a dirty word,” said Ethan Winter, analyst for Data for Progress. “A majority of voters – including a 62% of Republicans – think that regulations serve an important role in protecting the environment, keeping workers safe and ensuring a fair economy. President-Elect Joe Biden should take his election for what it is: a mandate from the voters to use aggressive regulatory action for the benefit of everyday Americans.”

“The American people want their government to act to keep their food safe, their water clean, their air breathable and their pharmaceuticals affordable,” said Robert Weismann, president of Public Citizen and co-chair of CSS. “They want safe workplaces and an end to financial rip-offs. That means – as the data show – they want strong regulatory protections and enforcement.”

“The results of this important poll are clear: The majority of Americans simply believe that regulations are needed to protect them from unsafe food, dangerous products and unfair financial services,” said Jack Gillis, executive director of Consumer Federation of America and co-chair of CSS. “Sensible safeguards in the marketplace not only meet consumer expectations for fairness, health and safety, but protect companies from substandard competition.”

The Coalition for Sensible Safeguards is a diverse national alliance of more than 160 organizations joined in the belief that our country’s system of regulatory safeguards should secure our quality of life, pave the way for a sound economy and benefit us all.