Group Launches Campaign Pressing Trump on CFPB Director, Releases Poll Showing President’s Shortlist is Deeply Unpopular

Voters Think Trump Should Compromise When He Nominates a New CFPB Director, They Want Someone Who Will Protect Consumers and Fight Wall Street Special Interests – There is Also Broad Concern About Mulvaney’s Performance as “Acting Director”


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, consumer watchdog organization Allied Progress launched “CFPB Director Watch” – a campaign aimed at pressing President Trump to nominate a full-time director for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) who will fulfill the Bureau’s mission by fighting to protect consumers and holding big banks, predatory lenders, and Wall Street special interests accountable. The effort includes a website (CFPBdirectorwatch.org) that details the importance of a strong, pro-consumer director and exposes the individuals on Trump’s reported shortlist for their deep ties to financial industries regulated by the CFPB.

In conjunction with the launch of this new initiative, Allied Progress also released a new poll that reveals voters, by wide margins, support the mission of the CFPB and oppose efforts to weaken it. Voters also want Trump to compromise and nominate a director who can earn bipartisan support and are broadly concerned with Mick Mulvaney’s performance and actions as “acting director.” Additionally, the poll shows that voters want a CFPB director who will fight to protect consumers and is free from conflicts involving Wall Street special interests. When voters learn that each of the men on Trump’s shortlist for director have either represented, taken campaign contributions from, or been funded by CFPB-regulated industries, they oppose Trump nominating these individuals by margins of at least three to one.

If Trump and Mulvaney were hoping Americans wouldn’t notice or wouldn’t care about their efforts to help big banks and Wall Street insiders, they were mistaken. This new poll clearly shows voters on the left, the right, and everything in-between are not happy with the job Mulvaney has done as ‘acting director’ of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and oppose his efforts to gut the agency,” said Karl Frisch, executive director of Allied Progress.

He continued, “The American people know what they want in a new CFPB Director – someone who hasn’t defended or taken money from the very Wall Street special interests they will be overseeing if confirmed. They want a director who will hold big banks and financial predators accountable and do everything they can to protect consumers. This new initiative will take Trump and those on his shortlist for CFPB director to task, exposing their records on important issues. Consumers deserve a champion but right now the President is only considering financial industry lackeys.”

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE NEW POLL:
View Full Polling Memo (PDF)

  • 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.
  • 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. 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).
  • Voters know what they want in a Consumer Bureau director and are broadly concerned about 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).“Acting Director” 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 interest that would jeopardize the Consumer Bureau’s mission as an independent agency (70% convincing).
  • 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).
  • The most effective messages against 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.
  • 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.

Hensarling – 13% Support / 80% Oppose
Noreika – 14% Support / 79% Oppose
Zywicki – 18% Support / 76% Oppose
McWatters – 21% Support / 71% Oppose

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.

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