Utah residents, by a 2-to-1 margin, favor more state regulations over payday lenders, according to a SurveyUSA poll for The Salt Lake Tribune.
The survey found that 58 percent of residents favor more regulation of the industry, 25 percent oppose it and 17 percent are unsure.
The survey comes as an investigation by the Utah House reported payday lenders financed wrongdoing that helped lead to the resignation of former Attorney General John Swallow. Those misdeeds included secretly funneling money to defeat a lawmaker who tried to more closely regulate the industry.
Swallows campaign staff set up nonprofit groups that by law did not need to disclose their donors, House investigators said. They were used to funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars from payday lenders to defeat Daw, and help Swallow defeat his primary opponent, Sean Reyes, who later was appointed to replace Swallow.
Investigators say the money funded dozens of different mailers sent to voters attacking Daw without revealing who was behind them; "push polling" a phone campaign masquerading as a survey using unflattering descriptions against him; and $2,000 worth of campaign signs for his opponent.
Former Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem, pushed a bill in 2012 that would have banned payday lenders from making loans to people who already have one, seeking to reduce the likelihood that they borrow more than they can repay. It would have created a database of loans for lenders to check before issuing additional loans. It failed amid opposition that Daw called "visceral."
The survey polled 600 residents between Jan. 10-13.