A majority of respondents to a Pew Research Center poll conducted during May approved of the Department of the Treasury’s crack down on financial companies – news that resonates in fiscally conservative places like El Paso County.

About 60 percent thought it was a good idea for the government to regulate more strictly the way major financial companies do business, and 31 percent said tougher regulations were a bad idea.

Thirty-four percent of those who supported tougher regulations said this is something they strongly support, and 21 percent said tougher regulations are a good idea but say they have reservations about the proposal.

Respondents appeared to break along political lines.

The vast majority of liberal Democrats, 82 percent, viewed stricter regulations of financial companies as a good thing; 67 percent of liberal Democrats said they strongly support them. Among conservative and moderate Democrats, 73 percent regarded stricter regulation as a good idea, but fewer than half – 43 percent — said this is something they strongly support.

Republicans also were divided over placing tighter regulations on financial firms. A majority of moderate and liberal Republicans, 52 percent, favored the proposal while just 33 percent of conservative Republicans agreed.

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Self-proclaimed independents – the fastest growing sector of the electorate – may be the group to watch.

By about a two-to-one margin, 61 percent to 31 percent, said they viewed stricter regulation of financial companies as a good idea rather than a bad idea.