Americans Really Don’t Like Wall Street: Poll

The public continues to invest in many of the firms it claims not to like

A trader at the New York Mercantile Exchange. (Photo: AP) A trader at the New York Mercantile Exchange. (Photo: AP)

Americans don’t like Wall Street. It’s not exactly breaking news, but a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds the depths of their detestation.

Five years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the ensuing economic crisis, 42% of respondents said they had a negative view of financial institutions while just 14% have a favorable opinion. The remainder of respondents had either a neutral view or no opinion. That is the lowest rating of any person or institution in the poll, which included the Tea Party and Bill Clinton. 

As NBC reports, the antipathy remains high “despite record gains in the Dow Jones Industrial Average of more than 15,000 points.”

Still, the network notes a majority of Americans — 52% — continue to say they have been either greatly or somewhat affected by Wall Street crises and the housing market over the last three to five years. That’s just seven points lower than in the immediate aftermath of the financial collapse in October 2008.

A portion of Americans’ dislike for Wall Street wirehouses may be related to their view of the overall economy. Just 27% think the economy will get better in the next year, while almost half of the country — 48% — thinks it will be about the same, which NBC notes is the lowest since July of last year.

If Wall Street has problems, so too does the president; a majority — 52% — disapprove of President Obama’s handling of the economy, his worst rating since August 2012.

The network argues that part of this is likely because of the disconnect between Wall Street and the job market. Recovery in the job market has happened at a much slower pace than the gains on Wall Street.

Yet Wall Street’s pain could be RIA gain, if the latter can separate themselves enough and educate clients as to how, exactly, they differ from large wirehouses. And the fact that wirehouses are still so large reflects something of a paradox; despite their supposed dislike, many American continue to invest with them.

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Check out 5 Years After Lehman Crash: ‘Dark Times’ Ahead on ThinkAdvisor.

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