The survey by CNN Money found that 74 per cent of adults believe Mr Madoff's alleged behaviour is commonplace among financial advisors and institutions.
The broker is currently under house arrest accused by the Securities and Exchange Commission of running a $50 billion Ponzi scheme that hit some of the world's biggest financial firms, charities and individual investors.
Many of those questioned believe the government should do more to head off such incidents, with 59 per cent saying stock market regulation is currently too lax, up from 50 per cent in September.
Some 22 per cent said financial regulation is too tight, while 18 per cent judged it about right.
Last week, the SEC announced an internal investigation into its handling of the Madoff case after revealing that it had received "credible and specific" warnings about the broker as far back as 1999.