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Detroit Regional Chamber Releases Findings from Statewide COVID-19 Impact Poll

Watch: The Detroit Regional Chamber released findings from a new statewide poll that offers the first glimpse into the struggles Michigan households are facing amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Sandy K. Baruah, president and CEO of the Chamber and Richard Czuba, the founder of Glengariff Group Inc., discussed the new data in a conversation with Brad Williams, vice president of Government Relations for the Chamber.


Detroit Regional Chamber Releases Findings from Statewide COVID-19 Impact Poll

DETROIT, MICH. (April 20, 2020) – Today, the Detroit Regional Chamber released findings from a new statewide poll that offers the first glimpse into the struggles Michigan households are facing amid the COVID-19 crisis.

“This poll puts the level of economic struggle across the state in stark relief. Poll results report 29% of respondents furloughed, laid off, or unable to work. This points to the real possibility for the official unemployment rate for April to exceed our bleakest expectations,” said Sandy K. Baruah, president and CEO of the Chamber. “The dual-threat of navigating our greatest public health crisis coupled with our greatest economic crisis has placed a hereto unknown strain on Michigan families.”

The statewide general population poll was commissioned by the Detroit Regional Chamber and conducted by the Chamber’s polling partner, Glengariff Group Inc., of 600 Michiganders between April 15 through 16, 2020.

“What we attempted to do with this survey was to paint a vivid picture showing the magnitude of what the people of Michigan face. That 28% of Michiganders worry that they can put food on the table highlights the unprecedented magnitude of the crisis residents face,” said Richard Czuba, the founder of Glengariff Group Inc.

Highlights from the poll of Michigan residents include:

  • 9% of respondents believe they have contracted COVID-19.
  • 29% of respondents are furloughed, laid off, or unable to work.
  • 27.3% of respondents that were working prior to the outbreak have been forced to file for unemployment.
  • 42.6% of respondents that were working prior to the outbreak, are now furloughed, laid off, or unable to work.
  • 69% of furloughed or laid-off workers face catastrophic to major financial impact.
  • 28% of respondents are worried about putting food on the table.
  • The majority of respondents, 50%, believe Michigan is already in a recession.

Contracting COVID-19
From the poll, 9% of respondents said they believe they have contracted COVID-19, even if they had not been tested. While 8% of respondents said they believe someone in their household contracted COVID-19, even if they had not been tested.

  • 18% of those still working as normal believe they have contracted COVID-19, and 14% of those ‘currently working from home’ believe they have contracted COVID-19.
  • 12% of both Republican and Independent respondents believe they have contracted COVID-19, while only 5% of Democratic voters believe they have contracted the virus.
  • 9% of white respondents and 7% of African American respondents believe they have contracted COVID-19.

The sharpest differences came by age:

Percentage      Age Bracket

13%                       18-29

16%                       30-39

6%                         40-49

9%                        50-64

4%                        65+

Furlough, Lay Offs, and Work Restrictions
Respondents were asked to describe their current work status since the COVID-19 crisis:

  • 32% were not working prior to the virus.
  • 19% continue to work like they did before the virus.
  • 20% continue to work but are doing so from home.
  • 29% have been furloughed, laid off, or are unable to work.

42% of respondents ages 18 to 29, and 45% of respondents ages 30 to 39 have been laid off or furloughed – by far the largest percentage among demographic groups.

35% of Republican respondents are furloughed or laid off compared to 27% of Democratic respondents and 25% of Independent respondents.

By region, the largest percentage of furloughed or laid off respondents were 41% in the Traverse City media market, and 34% in the Grand Rapids media market In the Detroit media market,  27% have been furloughed or laid off.

Among respondents that were working prior to COVID-19, 42.6% are now furloughed, laid off, or unable to work.

 Unemployment
Among the 29% of total respondents that are furloughed, laid off, or unable to work, they were asked if they have been forced to file for unemployment benefits.

  • 64% have filed for unemployment benefits.
  • 36% have not filed for unemployment benefits.

Among respondents that were working prior to the virus, 27.3% have now been forced to file for unemployment. Respondents that have been forced to file for unemployment were asked whether or not they have been successful:

  • 48% of furloughed or laid off have been successful in filing for unemployment.
  • 37% of furloughed or laid off have NOT been successful in filing for unemployment.
  • 15% of these respondents are not sure if they have been successful in filing for unemployment.

52% of unemployed workers under the age of 30 have not been able to successfully file for unemployment. 42% of unemployed men have not been able to successfully file for unemployment.

 Major Financial Impact to Furloughed and Laid-off Workers
Respondents were asked to describe the impact that COVID-19 has had on their household’s financial situation. Of Michigan respondents, 47% said the financial impact on their household was catastrophic or major, and 51% said the financial impact was minor or nothing at all.

  • 12% said the impact was catastrophic.
  • 35% said the impact was major.
  • 36% said the impact was minor.
  • 15% said there was no impact at all.

21% of respondents under the age of 30 said that the impact was catastrophic. While 30% of respondents under 30 said the impact was major.

11% of residents aged 30 to 39 said that the impact was catastrophic, 48% of respondents aged 30 to 39 said the impact was major.

20% of respondents who have been laid off or furloughed said the impact was catastrophic. While 9% of respondents who have been laid off or furloughed said the financial impact was major. For respondents who have been laid off or furloughed, 69% said the financial impact was catastrophic or major.  


Respondents Ability to Pay Bills, Support Family

Of Michigan respondents, 28% are worried about being able to put food on their table. Additionally, 28% are also worried about being able to pay their rent or mortgage.

  • 54% of furloughed or laid off respondents are worried about putting food on their table.
  • 54% of African American respondents are worried about putting food on their table.
  • 45% of those aged 18 to 29 and 40% of those aged 30 to 39 are worried about putting food on their table.

Unlike partisan issues visible on so many Michigan issues, there appear to be few differences by party when it comes to concern about putting food on the table. 31% of Democratic respondents, 26% of Republican respondents and 26% of Independent respondents are worried about putting food on the table.

 Majority Believe Michigan Already in Recession
The majority of respondents, 50%, believe Michigan is already in a recession. While 27% believe the state is not in a recession and 23% of respondents are not sure.

58% of Independent voters and 51% of Democratic voters believe the state is in recession. But only 42% of Republican voters believe the state is in recession and 34% of Republican voters say the state is not in a recession.

How Long Until Financial Recovery?
Respondents were asked once the stay at home order is lifted, how long it would take for their household finances to return to normal.

  • 14% said their finances had not changed.
  • 46% said their finances would return to normal within one month.
  • 24% said their finances would return to normal in a couple of months.
  • 15% said the finances would return to normal in one year.

For respondents that had been furloughed, laid off, or cannot work:

  • 2% said their finances had not changed.
  • 41% said their finances would return to normal within one month.
  • 35% said their finances would return to normal in a couple of months.
  • 21% said their finances would return to normal in one year.

Getting Back to Work
Respondents were asked how soon they would get back to work once the stay at home order is lifted.

  • 20% said they would return right away.
  • 19% said they would return in a couple of weeks.
  • 13% said they would return in one month.
  • 25% said they would return in a couple of months.
  • 23% said they simply did not know.

Among respondents who have been furloughed, laid off, or unable to work:

  • 15% said they would return right away.
  • 22% said they would return in a couple of weeks.
  • 12% said they would return in one month.
  • 25% said they would return in a couple of months.
  • 26% said they simply did not know.

When it is time to get back to work, furloughed or unemployed workers, and those who are working at home were asked if they would feel safe or not safe going back to their place of work.

  • 61% of these workers said they felt safe.
  • 32% of these workers said they did not feel safe.
  • 20% feel very safe.
  • 41% feel somewhat safe.
  • 25% felt somewhat unsafe.
  • 7% felt very unsafe.

White voters felt safe by a margin of 62%-31%. African American voters felt safe by a narrower margin of 52%-39%.

By a margin of 60%-20%, respondents going back to work said they trusted their workplace to keep them safe, and 20% of these workers were not sure.

Michiganders Split on When State Will Be Back to Normal
Respondents were asked how long it would take for Michigan to return to normal.

  • 18% said Michigan would be back to normal with one month.
  • 39% said between one to six months.
  • 36% said in a year a more.
  • 4% said a few weeks
  • 14% said a month
  • 24% said several months
  • 15% said six months
  • 18% said a year
  • 18% said more than one year
  • 7% are not sure.

 President Trump COVID-19 Approval at 44%-50%
Respondents disapprove of President Trump’s handling of COVID-19 by a margin of 44%-50%.

  • Republicans approve of his handling by a margin of 88%-9%.
  • Democrats disapprove of his handling by a margin of 6%-86%.
  • Independent voters disapprove of his handling by a margin of 40%-52%.
  • Men approve of his handling 49%-46%.
  • But women disapprove of his handling by a margin of 39%-54%.

 Governor Whitmer COVID-19 Approval at 57%-37%
Respondents approve of Gov. Whitmer’s handling of COVID-19 by a margin of 57%-37%.

  • Democrats approve of her handling by a margin of 89%-8%.
  • Republicans disapprove of her handling by a margin of 22%-70%.
  • But Independent voters approve of her handing by a margin of 56%-35%.
  • Men approve of her handling 49%-42%.
  • Women strongly approve of her handling by a margin of 64%-32%.

View the full data for the poll at: detroitchamber.com/MIcovidpolldata

The 600-sample survey provides a margin of error of +/-4.0% with a 95% level of confidence.   Data collection for this survey was conducted via automated calling and text messaging. 50% of respondents were contacted via automatic dialing, landline telephone. 50% of respondents were contacted via cell phone text message.


Related: Chamber’s New Statewide Poll Reveals COVID-19 Impact On Households