Most Americans thought that the lack of regulation was partly responsible for the current financial and housing crisis, according to a survey published on Tuesday.
The Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg national survey showed that nearly three-quarters of Americans wanted stricter regulation of business.
At least 70 percent of respondents in each of a wide range of demographic categories blame the absence of more regulation for the nation's economic troubles, the survey said.
Among those who called for new regulations were 58 percent of Democrats and 24 percent of Republicans, along with 48 percent of those who live in households earning 100,000 dollars or more a year and 48 percent of those with household incomes of 40,000 dollars or less a year.
The need for stronger regulation of financial markets was cited most as the top issue for the presidential candidates to address in the remaining weeks of the campaign, according to the survey.
Nine out of 10 polled said the economy was doing badly, while more than three-quarters said the country was facing a crisis, and more than half worried that the downturn would threaten their household's financial security.
Asked to choose which of six economic issues was most important for Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama to address in their campaigns, respondents cited bolstering regulation most frequently-- roughly twice as often as they mentioned taxes, housing foreclosures and unemployment.
Overall, 45 percent of respondents said there was too little regulation in business; 27 percent said there was too much.
Asked if the government should provide assistance to homeowners facing foreclosure, 61 percent said they were in favor and 27 percent opposed such a measure. Only three months ago, a Times/ Bloomberg poll found 55 percent supported government assistance and 36 percent opposed it.
The survey of 1,543 adults was taken Friday through Monday and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.