Poll: Voters Will Punish Senators Over ATM Fees

Senators who vote to delay ‘swipe fee’ limit would face ire at polls.


Wall Street-loving senators face a new threat today: Vote this week to delay a cap on “swipe fees” on debit cards at 12 cents per transaction, and voters will angrily pay you back on Election Day.

A new poll provided to Whispers finds that two thirds support the new rule to limit swipe fees, and that significantly more voters would view their senator less favorably if they vote to delay the new rule.

The Mellman Group and the Tarrance Group polled six states and found that, in each, voters would view their senators less favorably if they voted to delay the new swipe fee limit, by a margin of 6 percent to 19 percent. The polling, paid for by the Retail Industry Leaders Association, is being used to build their case against Wall Street’s backers in the Senate who are eager to delay the limits. [Check out a roundup of this month's best political cartoons.]

The leader of that effort, Democratic Montana Sen. Jon Tester, would face the worst voter anger, said the poll. Some 75 percent of Montana voters oppose the delay, and 38 percent would view him less favorably if he went through with the plan. Just 19 percent said they’d view him more favorably.

A vote is expected this week, and some reports suggest that it doesn’t have enough support to pass. The poll also revealed that banks, which are seeking the delay as they continue to become more profitable, are viewed far less favorably than local retailers, who would be tasked with charging more when customers used their ATM cards.

From the poll: