Republicans Enter Wall Street Reform Debate Weighed Down by Luntz Memo

Republicans in the Senate decided to base their opposition to financial reform using a message developed by GOP pollster Frank Luntz, arguing that reform amounts to bailouts for Wall Street banks. But our polling reveals this to be the weakest argument available to Republicans. This approach is 8 to 11 points weaker than the other messages against reform and 35 to 40 points worse than arguments in favor of it.

This Republican anti-reform message as framed by Luntz and parroted by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell – that reform provides for an institutionalized taxpayer bailout for Wall Street – falls completely flat.  The latest Democracy Corps poll finds only 27 percent saying that hearing such a message would make them much less or somewhat less likely to support a reform bill.  More voters, 46 percent, actually say this argument would make them more likely to support the Democrats’ reform bill, not less. And the Luntz message fails to win support even among the Republican base. Republicans would have been better off supporting President Obama’s financial reforms and working with him on economic growth strategies.

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