Detroit Regional Chamber > Advocacy > New Statewide Voter Poll Finds Increasingly Disparate Views on the Economy, Future Direction; Pronounced Partisan Differences Continue

New Statewide Voter Poll Finds Increasingly Disparate Views on the Economy, Future Direction; Pronounced Partisan Differences Continue

March 2, 2023

DETROIT (March 2, 2023) – Today, the Detroit Regional Chamber released findings from a new statewide poll of registered Michigan voters. The results reveal a growing gap between voters’ perceptions of economic conditions as well as a disconnect between where voters believe future economic needs and trends will be compared to the consensus of business leaders and economic forecasters. The Chamber’s polling partner, The Glengariff Group Inc., completed this statewide poll of 600 registered Michigan voters between Feb. 10 and Feb. 13, 2023.

“Part of the value of survey research is to understand whether leaders and voters are on the same page,” said Richard Czuba, President of The Glengariff Group, Inc. “On the economy, voters are pessimistic. On advanced education, a large segment of the population believes a high school diploma is enough. And on the move to vehicle electrification, a large block of voters appears reluctant. These numbers highlight the challenges leaders face in bringing voters along in these conversations.”

sandy baruah

“Since the beginning of this polling project in 2020, the Chamber has noticed an increasing disconnect between voters’ perceptions and official economic data. For example, despite strong economic indicators and nearly 70% reporting they are doing as well or better than a year ago, Michigan voters’ views of the economy are decidedly sour – with only a narrow majority believing that the state is on the right track and a strong majority reporting that the nation is on the wrong track.

These findings and the Chamber’s recently released State of the Region report, which cites record-low unemployment and strong GDP growth alongside the lowest consumer sentiment reading on record, tell a combined story about this deepening disconnect.

Perhaps of greater concern is in an increasingly technical economy with employers scrambling for well-educated employees, only roughly a quarter (27%) of voters believe a college degree is very important to landing a successful job in Michigan.

Additionally, a concerning percentage of Michigan voters (44%) oppose the shift Michigan’s homegrown automotive companies are leading globally toward electrification. Despite corporate commitment from some of the state’s largest employers, the rest of the industrialized world’s rapid movement toward electric vehicles, and growing U.S. consumer demand, Michigan voters remain skeptical of this global technology shift.

These continued and growing perception disconnects raise the bar for public policy makers, business leaders, and organizations focused on economic prosperity, such as the Chamber, to better educate the public to prepare for the changing dynamics of the 21st century global economy.

A century ago, Michigan led the way into the modern economy we know today. As the global economy, technology, and consumer demands change, we must again look to and prepare for the future in a very proactive manner. We can do this while honoring our storied and consequential history.”

– Sandy K. Baruah, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber

Key Themes

The Chamber notes – and expresses concern about – the following areas where Michigan voters’ perceptions diverge from current or future economic conditions:

Education and Talent


Only 27% of Michigan voters believe that a college education is “very important” to landing a successful job in Michigan, and an overwhelming 69% believe that a high school diploma is the minimum level of education needed to be successful in Michigan.

Almost a quarter of respondents believe a college education is not important.


  • 37 of the 50 “Hot Jobs” in Michigan require a bachelor’s degree or higher, according to the State of Michigan’s analysis of jobs projected to grow and pay high wages between now and 2030.
  • According to a Michigan Future analysis, 79% of all jobs paying more than $64K in Michigan are held by people with a bachelor’s degree or higher. Only 5% of all jobs paying more than $64K in Michigan are held by people with an associate degree or who completed an apprenticeship.
  • Unemployment rates for those with only a high school diploma are 2.7 times higher than those with a bachelor’s degree, according to the State of Michigan.
  • Median earnings in Michigan are positively associated with educational attainment. Bachelor’s degree holders earn 2.4 times more than high school graduates in their first year in the workforce, according to the Center for Educational Performance and Information. Over a lifetime, a high school graduate can expect to earn $1.3 million versus the expected $2.3 million earnings for someone with a bachelor’s degree, per the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.
  • According to the Brookings Institution, the single most important factor driving local and state economic success is a population’s educational attainment. Statistically, educational attainment – as measured by high school and college completion –explains roughly 60% of the variation in per capita incomes among large U.S. metropolitan area.

Chamber Perspective: Education and Talent


The Chamber understands that a college degree is not the only path to a viable and rewarding career. Today, and for the foreseeable future, postsecondary credentials such as an associate degree or skilled certificate can lead to solid and stable careers and are in demand. Additionally, the Chamber has been a leader in encouraging employers to closely examine job requirements. Often, a degree is not required, and by requiring such, employers not only eliminate potential job candidates, but also place an equity barrier to employment.


However, the long-term trends are clear. As the world of work becomes more complex and global, additional skills will be needed by all. While much of Michigan’s middle class was built by the hard work of those with only a high school diploma in the manufacturing sector, those days are over, and Michigan needs to adapt to this 21st century reality. Positively, the poll indicated that 80% of voters support state financial aid for two additional years of education post-high school.



Voters are split on the automotive industry’s transition from internal combustion engine (ICE) technology to electrification.


  • KPMG’s Annual Global Automotive Executive Survey projects 35% EV market share in North America by 2030.
  • On the global scale, China’s domestic market share of EVs is projected to be 48% by 2030, nearly double that of the U.S. (27%), and Europe’s is projected to reach 42%, according to Deloitte in 2020. Michigan cannot afford to fall behind in this development if it wants to compete globally.
  • Consumer demand is high. There were 200,000 reservations for the Ford F-150 Lightning Pickup Truck before it even went on sale. The 2023 order book for the Cadillac Lyriq SUV closed in June 2022, moving to a waitlist for the 2024 model.
  • Tesla earned $15,653 in gross profit per vehicle in Q3 of 2022 – more than twice as much as Volkswagen AG, four times the comparable figure at Toyota, and five times more than Ford Motor Co., according to a Reuters analysis.
  • Owners of EVs are quickly “hooked,” with a vast majority opting to continue with an EV for their next vehicle purchase.

Chamber Perspective: Electrification


As a global center of the mobility industry, Michigan is among a handful of global regions poised to win as the automotive sector evolves. For the state to be successful in global competition, there must be alignment between government, business, and the public at large. Without buy-in from the public, Michigan risks its leadership position in the highly competitive automotive and mobility sector and could fall behind in the electrification revolution underway. Some estimates of EV adoption in the next decade are overly optimistic. However, the trend toward electrification for both environment and driving dynamics is clear. While ICE vehicles will be around and necessary for the foreseeable future and complete adoption of EVs for all applications and markets is unrealistic, Michigan’s future cannot afford to rely on ICE technology as the rest of the industrialized world moves to electrification.


The business community and state government understand the importance of this sector, and the Chamber’s MICHauto program continues to provide critical advocacy and insight to drive work toward investment and improvement in infrastructure, next-generation technology, business attraction, and high-tech talent development. The challenge of understanding, embracing, and leading in sustainability and digitalization is tied directly to the fate of Michigan’s economy.



Voters continue to hold sour views of today’s economy – and expectations for the future – despite surprisingly strong economic indicators, including record-low unemployment, rising wages, increased flexible working conditions, and continued economic growth.


  • The economy has experienced significant shocks in recent years – the dynamics of the pandemic, related supply chain disruptions, unprecedented Federal interventions, and inflation challenges. However, core economic indicators remain strong, including a record-low 3.8% unemployment rate and continued GDP growth. Despite this, voters remain pessimistic about today’s economy and the prospects of a recession.
  • Inflation today, while moderating from Summer 2022 peaks, remains a primary drag on consumer sentiment, which reached record lows in the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index in June 2022.
  • Despite voters’ negative economic views, they remain optimistic about their own situations. For example, 70% report doing better or the same as in the past, 78% believe there are good jobs for people looking for work, and only 19% report worrying about losing their jobs.
  • Strong economic indicators justify the Federal Reserve Bank’s continued interest rate increases to counter growing inflation driven by consumer demand.

Chamber Perspective: Economy


While the economy continues to outperform consumer (and many experts’) expectations, it is quite possible that voters’ unprecedented negative views of economic conditions will be a factor in pushing the economy into a recessionary period.

Workplace Trends


65.9% of workers have a job that requires them to go into work. 21.7% of workers have a hybrid workplace. 12.4% of workers work from home.

The most significant statistical differences in job types were by education and income levels. College-educated workers and those earning $75,000 or more were more likely to work from home, at least partially.


  • While the results on this topic have not been subject to the same disconnects as those previously mentioned, the voter perceptions and habits around the workplace are worth heeding by businesses.
  • The patterns of remote work established during the pandemic are apparently here to stay. According to Gallup, 56% of all U.S. workers are able to work remotely, and of these workers, well over half will seek new employment options if they are not provided continued flexibility.

Chamber Perspective: Workplace Trends


College-educated, higher-income employees’ expectations for work-life balance continue to evolve, valuing amenities when reporting to work in person. Employers should pay close attention to these expectations as the market to attract and retain talent continues to become more competitive.


Chamber Perspective: Polarization


The Chamber continues to notice the growing disparity of views based on party affiliation. While it is expected that Democrats and Republicans view issues and solutions differently, the partisan divide is growing increasingly pronounced and spreading to issues that are not inherently political – such as viewpoints on broader economic conditions, changes in automotive technology, and the value of higher education. This growing polarization will make it increasingly difficult for public policy makers – and public policy advocacy organizations like the Chamber – to drive consensus and enact solutions that position Michigan for success in an increasingly competitive economy.

Breakdown By the Numbers

Education and Talent: Voters Say Four-Year Degree ‘Somewhat Important,’ but Not Worth the Money

Only 26.5% of Michigan voters say a college education is VERY IMPORTANT to landing a successful job in Michigan. 

  • 26.5% – Very important
  • 44.4% – Somewhat important
  • 11.6% – Not very important
  • 11.5% – Not important at all

Responses varied by party affiliation.

Party IDImportantNot Important
Strong Democratic82.0%14.2%
Lean Democratic88.3%2.9%
Lean Republican66.6%28.9%
Strong Republican60.3%33.2%

Only 27.5% of voters said a four-year degree was WORTH THE MONEY, while 45.8% said it was NOT WORTH THE MONEY. Significantly, 39% of college voters said it was not worth the money.

  • 27.5% – Worth the money
  • 45.8% – Not worth the money
  • 24.5% – It depends

51.2% of non-college voters said it was not worth the money.

59.6% of Republican voters, 48.8% of Independent voters, and 34.1% of Democratic voters said it was not worth the money.

68.7% of voters said a HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA or CERTIFICATION is the minimum level of education needed to be successful in Michigan.

  • 35.8% – High school diploma
  • 32.9% – Trade program certification
  • 11.3% – Two-year associate degree
  • 8.0% – At least some college courses
  • 7.8% – Four-year college degree

Voters under 40 were the most likely to say a high school diploma was enough education to succeed.

By party affiliation, Republican voters were statistically more likely to say a high school diploma, while Democratic and Independent voters were more likely to say a trade certification or an associate degree.

Party IDHigh SchoolAssociateCertificationSome CollegeFour-Year
Strong Democratic28.6%15.4%35.2%8.2%10.4%
Lean Democratic35.3%14.7%14.7%26.5%2.9%
Lean Republican40.0%0.0%35.6%11.1%4.4%
Strong Republican44.1%6.2%34.2%6.8%6.2%

By a margin of 80.0% to 16.3%, Michigan voters SUPPORT state financial aid for two additional years after high school for skills training, community college, or college for every student in Michigan.

Party IDSupportOppose
Strong Democratic94.5%3.8%
Lean Democratic97.1%0.0%
Lean Republican68.9%26.6%
Strong Republican61.5%33.3%

Voters were also asked if they support or oppose providing state financial aid for students to get an education past high school.

77.7% of voters said they support some sort of financial aid, with 46.8% saying it should be offered to all students and 30.9% saying it should be based on income.

Party IDEveryoneIncome-BasedNo Assistance
Strong Democratic52.7%43.4%1.6%
Lean Democratic73.5%17.6%5.9%
Lean Republican33.3%26.7%22.2%
Strong Republican35.4%25.4%31.1%


Electrification: Voters Split on Electric Vehicles

46.4% of voters SUPPORT automakers’ shift from gas-powered to electric vehicles, while 44.4% OPPOSE the shift.

33.4% of Michigan voters strongly oppose the shift to electric vehicles.

Metro Detroit voters support the shift by a margin of 53.3% to 32.4%. Outstate voters oppose the shift by a margin of 40.2% to 50.6%.

There is a clear partisan divide over electric vehicles.

Party IDSupportOppose
Strong Democratic72.6%18.1%
Lean Democratic64.7%17.7%
Lean Republican15.5%73.3%
Strong Republican24.9%69.6%

When asked why they oppose the shift, three primary reasons emerge.

  • 19.6% – Our electric grid cannot handle it.
  • 18.4% – It is too expensive.
  • 13.3% – We do not have the infrastructure for it.

When asked WHY they think the industry is shifting to electric vehicles, voters responded:

  • 43.4% – Government regulations and incentives are moving the industry in that direction.
  • 27.3% – Environmental activists are pressuring the automakers in that direction.
  • 18.0% – Consumer demand and market forces are moving in that direction.

60.1% of voters said they would NOT CONSIDER an electric vehicle when it is time for their next vehicle purchase.

33.9% of voters said they would consider an electric vehicle, and only 4.0% said they already own an electric vehicle. 38.9% of Metro Detroit voters would consider an electric vehicle, while only 29.4% of outstate voters would consider one.

Three primary demographic drivers for this question were party affiliation, age, and income, with Democratic voters, voters under 30, and wealthier voters far more likely to consider an electric vehicle.

Party IDWill ConsiderWill Not Consider
Strong Democratic56.6%36.8%
Lean Democratic52.9%32.4%
Lean Republican13.3%84.4%
Strong Republican11.2%83.9%
AgeWill ConsiderWill Not Consider
IncomeWill ConsiderWill Not Consider

By a margin of 57.9% to 35.6%, Michigan voters SUPPORT efforts to invest in charging station infrastructure for electric vehicles.  

While Democratic and Independent voters support investing in the infrastructure, Republican voters strongly oppose investing in electric vehicle infrastructure.

Party IDSupportOppose
Strong Democratic84.0%11.5%
Lean Democratic85.3%2.9%
Lean Republican35.5%53.3%
Strong Republican29.8%65.2%


Economy: Voters Remain Dissatisfied With Nation’s Direction, Expect Recession, Inflation to Worsen

By a margin of 22.6% right track to 64.6%, wrong track, Michigan voters believe the nation is on the WRONG TRACK, a measure that has been consistently above 60% since 2021.

SurveyRightWrongNo Opinion
October 202027.4%55.9%16.7%
February 202136.6%40.6%22.9%
May 202135.3%48.2%16.5%
September 202125.5%58.5%16.0%
December 202122.8%62.2%15.0%
May 202216.9%69.0%14.1%
December 202224.2%64.0%11.8%
February 202322.6%64.6%12.8%

By a margin of 46.4% right track to 42.9% wrong track, Michigan voters continue to narrowly believe the state is on the RIGHT TRACK.

January 202044.5%26.2%
October 202044.9%41.3%
February 202146.6%38.9%
May 202140.4%45.2%
September 202138.7%47.2%
December 202131.7%52.8%
May 202231.7%50.1%
December 202247.9%42.8%
February 202346.4%42.9%

By a margin of 38.9% right track to 48.1% wrong track, Michigan voters believe the state’s ECONOMY is on the WRONG TRACK.

Michigan’s economic “right track” rating fell from 41.0% in December 2022 to 38.9% in February 2023.

Contrary to the “wrong track” sentiments about the state’s economy overall, voters are confident in their own situations. Nearly 70% of voters say they are doing BETTER OR ABOUT THE SAME economically than in the past.

  • 30.1% – Worse
  • 26.3% – Better
  • 42.3% – About the same

As with past surveys, Republican voters are driving the “doing worse” numbers.

Further demonstrating personal economic confidence, among those currently employed, only 19.2% say they are CONCERNED ABOUT LOSING THEIR CURRENT JOB, while 80.6% are not.

77.9% of voters believe there are good jobs for people looking for work. Only 16.1% said there is a lack of good jobs.

Inflation jumped as the primary reason voters believe Michigan is economically on the wrong track, up from 45% in December 2022 to 55.7% in February 2023.

  • 55.7% – Inflation/cost of goods
  • 7.6% – Anti-Biden/anti-Democratic
  • 7.3% – No good jobs/unemployment
  • 6.6% – Government subsidies/nobody wants to work
  • 4.2% – Taxes/government spending

A quarter of Michigan voters consider INFLATION the most important issue facing Michigan today.

  • 25.3% – Inflation/cost of goods
  • 10.8% – The economy and jobs
  • 10.5% – Roads and infrastructure
  • 4.8% – Education quality and funding
  • 4.0% – Taxes and government spending

Two-thirds of voters see the economy WEAKENING or in a RECESSION.

  • 6.0% – The economy is seeing strong growth.
  • 24.3% – The economy is seeing growth but slow growth.
  • 50.1% – The economy is weakening but not in a recession.
  • 17.6% – The economy is in a recession.

A majority of Democratic voters see growth, but an overwhelming majority of Republican and Independent voters see a weakening economy.

Party IDGrowthSlow GrowthWeakeningRecessionGROWTHWEAK
Strong Democratic15.9%44.0%33.5%6.0%59.9%39.5%
Lean Democratic2.9%50.0%41.2%0.0%52.9%41.2%
Lean Republican0.0%8.9%53.3%33.3%8.9%86.6%
Strong Republican0.6%5.6%65.8%26.1%6.2%91.9%

49.6% of voters expect the nation to be in a RECESSION next year, while 37.6% expect the economy to be GROWING.

Democrats are sharply positive, Republicans are sharply negative, and Independent voters are mildly negative.

Party IDGrowingRecession
Strong Democratic63.7%24.2%
Lean Democratic55.9%26.5%
Lean Republican17.8%71.1%
Strong Republican11.8%78.9%

When asked if inflation will get better, worse, or stay the same in the next year:

  • 40.9% – Get worse
  • 29.5% – Stay about the same
  • 23.5% – Get better

Only Strong Democratic voters believe inflation will get better. All other party affiliations believe inflation will get worse over the next year.

Party IDWorseBetterSame
Strong Democratic21.4%42.3%33.5%
Lean Democratic41.2%29.4%23.5%
Lean Republican46.7%11.1%28.9%
Strong Republican59.6%12.4%23.6%


Workplace Trends: Hybrid, Flexible Workplaces are Here to Stay for Certain Categories of Workers; In-Person Amenities Important to Employee

Two-thirds of voters go to work IN PERSON; one-third have HYBRID jobs.

65.9% of workers have a job that requires them to go into work, 21.7% of workers have a hybrid workplace, and 12.4% of workers work from home.

The most significant statistical differences in job types were by education and income levels. College-educated workers and those with incomes above $75,000 were disproportionately more likely to work from home, at least partially.

EducationGo to WorkWork From HomeHybrid
Income LevelGo to WorkWork From HomeHybrid
$100,000 +53.3%17.8%28.9%

Of the workers working from home or with a hybrid job, 83.3% said that it is important to them to be able to work at least part time from home. 65.9% of these workers say it is very important. Those under 50 were significantly more likely to say it is very important to them.

AgeVery Important

Over half of workers under 40 would look for a new job if required to work in-office full time.

Workers that work at least part time from home were asked if their employer required them to come in all the time, would they go into the office or look for a new job?

  • 53.0% – Would go into the office
  • 33.3% – Would look for a new job
  • 9.1% – Would depend on the situation

These responses differed most significantly by age.

AgeGo InLook for New Job

29.5% of workers shared that their employer OFFERS EXTRA AMENITIES, with the majority citing food and beverage offerings.

  • 47.4% – Lunches
  • 23.7% – Drinks
  • 19.3% – Snacks and food
  • 9.6% – Games
  • 9.6% – Parties and social interactions
  • 8.8% – Gifts/gift cards
  • 7.9% – Gym/fitness center
  • 5.3% – Bonuses
  • 5.3% – Flexible scheduling
  • 2.6% – Travel/work retreats
  • 2.6% – Discounts

77.2% of these workers say these amenities are important, with 43.0% saying they are very important to them.


Political Insights: Voter Motivation Remains Consistently Strong; Whitmer Approval Rates Hold Steady While Biden’s Dip

Voter motivation is trending STRONG for 2024, like the past three years.

Voters were asked on a one-to-10 scale how motivated they are to vote in next year’s presidential election, with 10 being the highest level of motivation. More than a year and a half out from that election, voter motivation is at 9.1, consistent with high voter turnout in recent elections.

Party IDMotivation
Strong Democratic9.3
Lean Democratic9.4
Lean Republican8.8
Strong Republican9.6

The chart below compares these motivation levels to past October election levels.

Party IDOct ’12Oct ’14Oct ’16Oct ’18Oct ’20Oct ’22Feb ’23
Strong Democratic8.
Lean Democratic7.
Lean Republican8.
Strong Republican8.

Whitmer’s job approval STAYS CONSISTENT at 54.2%.

Michigan voters approve of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s job performance by a margin of 54.2% to 36.1%. These numbers have been consistent since Fall 2021.

Party IDApproveDisapprove
Strong Democratic90.6%5.5%
Lean Democratic88.3%5.9%
Lean Republican20.0%60.0%
Strong Republican13.6%77.0%

Biden faces DROPPING APPROVAL rates.

Michigan voters disapprove of President Joe Biden’s job performance by a margin of 35.3% to 57.9%, down from a 40% approval rate in December 2022. 49.1% of voters strongly disapprove of his performance.

Party IDApproveDisapprove
Strong Democratic75.3%15.4%
Lean Democratic64.7%26.4%
Lean Republican8.9%84.4%
Strong Republican0.6%98.7%


About the Detroit Regional Chamber
Serving the business community for more than 100 years, the Detroit Regional Chamber is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected chambers of commerce in the country. As the voice for business in the 11-county Southeast Michigan region, the Chamber’s mission is carried out by creating a business-friendly climate and providing value for members. The Chamber also executes the statewide automotive and mobility cluster association, MICHauto, and hosts the nationally recognized Mackinac Policy Conference. Additionally, the Chamber leads the most comprehensive education and talent strategy in the state.

About The Glengariff Group, Inc.
The Glengariff Group, Inc. is a full-service research firm providing survey research, focus group research, dial test research, and one-on-one interviewing. The Glengariff Group, Inc. provides more than just research and numbers; it provides recommendations on how best to use your information.