Americans blame Wall Street and the financial services sector for the economic collapse.

According to polls conducted after the mid-term elections last week, we are “approaching a majority” of Americans that blame Wall Street over Washington for the economic problems, said Cornell Belcher, the president of Brilliant Corners Research and Strategies. His data indicates 47% of independents and Republicans blame Wall Street, and “moderates go higher,” he said.

“Financial institutions and Wall Street’s favorability rating is below Congress, which is a feat unto itself right now,” said Belcher during a session at SIFMA annual conference in New York on Monday.

Mark McKinnon, the vice chairman of Public Strategies Inc., said during the session that one of the interesting things about the post-election analysis is that Democrats are already saying that part of their problem “is that they didn’t go after Wall Street enough.”

“This will be significant in the coming month,” McKinnon said. “What will the response be?”

Belcher said that right now Wall Street has a “bull’s eye on its back.”

“If everyone is blaming Wall Street, it is easy fodder for a campaign,” he said. Wall Street “is an easy bad guy. When there is an easy bad guy, I try to tie my opponent to that.”

Karen Finney, a consultant and MSNBC political analyst, said that neither party had created a strong message about what Wall Street reform meant for Americans. She said that Americans “saw Wall Street as an amorphous thing.”

“They need to create a message that resonates with people,” she said. “Democrats have to show that they are on the side of the little guys because that message wasn’t honed in on enough.”

But what happens if this creates gridlock?

McKinnon said if the Republican Party shuts down the government, like it did in 1996, it could be problematic for their aspirations in 2012.

Finney said she expects “another round of ‘throw the bums out.’”

“Republicans took over the House not because of an embrace of the Republican agenda,” she said. “I think there is a certain amount of pressure on the GOP to show a degree of competency and get something done.”


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