Chamber Releases Polling Data on COVID-19, Vaccinations, Returning to Work, Voting RightsJune 7, 2021
“After conducting multiple polls in 2020, the Chamber wanted to reassess how voters feel about Michigan’s health, economy, and political situation,” said Sandy K. Baruah, president and chief executive officer of the Detroit Regional Chamber. “Fifteen months into the pandemic, voters are seeing clear progress in controlling COVID-19 and are broadly receptive to vaccinations but are still reserving judgement about the speed with which they want to return to ‘normal’.”
The Glengariff Group Inc., the Chamber’s polling partner, completed this statewide poll of 600 registered Michigan voters between May 22 and 26, 2021. The poll’s findings reflect some continuity with previous Chamber surveys conducted throughout 2020 and an evolution of Michigan voters’ priorities as vaccinations have become more prevalent, businesses face a labor shortage, and new public policy proposals are released.
How COVID-19 Is Still Impacting the Economic Landscape
As Michigan businesses start to return to in-person work following the withdrawal of Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) emergency rules at the end of May, voters show they are still interested in taking sensible precautions as they reengage in public economic activity.
Businesses should consider phasing out COVID-19 precautions as a majority of employees and customers will need time to adjust.
Progress on Vaccinations But More Work To Do
While 77% of respondents indicated they have received, or plan to receive, at least their first dose of the vaccine, currently, less than 60% have done so, indicating a positive role employers can play in helping to increase vaccination rates.
Understanding The Labor Shortage in Michigan
The data demonstrates multiple factors are preventing employees from returning to work. While 14.3% of respondents indicated “lack of good pay”, which likely encompasses the impact of the federal $300 weekly supplemental unemployment benefits, other factors are likely the primary reasons for workers not returning to the workplace.
The Ongoing K-Shaped Recovery
The data consistently showed a vast majority (roughly 75%) were not impacted or experienced only minor impacts financially due to the pandemic. These latest results of 83.5% with no or only minor financial impact are a key reason for the strength of consumer demand and strongly indicates solid economic performance for the balance of 2021 and beyond. The Chamber also notes that while this overall economic picture is largely positive, the negative impacts of the pandemic did not fall equally across our society.
Understanding Michigan Voters Perceptions on Voting Rights
In early April, Michigan House Republicans introduced 39 bills that focused on voting process and access. The Chamber has long advocated for smart voting reforms, such as supporting no-reason absentee voting and same-day voter registration and has taken a stand supporting the validity of the 2020 election.
Data indicates that Michiganders are not aligned with several of the voting rights proposals currently being discussed by the legislature, and generally, respondents are looking to make voting easier, not harder. The Chamber believes this data demonstrates there is a potential a pathway to bipartisan solutions, including on sensitive issues such as voter ID, if the parties are willing to work together.