Detroit Regional Chamber > Media Coverage > Poll: Michigan Residents Worry About Economic Competitiveness and Lagging Public Schools

Poll: Michigan Residents Worry About Economic Competitiveness and Lagging Public Schools

December 12, 2023

DBusiness Magazine
Dec. 11, 2023
Jim Stickford

Results from a poll released today by the Detroit Regional Chamber show Michiganders’ perception of economic conditions doesn’t always match economic indicators, with political party affiliation playing a role in beliefs.

The findings are from the chamber’s latest statewide poll in which 600 registered Michigan voters were contacted. The poll was done in partnership with the Glengariff Group Inc. and conducted between Nov. 5-9.

Key findings include:

  • The UAW strike was not viewed as favorably as previously reported. The poll stated that 33.7% of those contacted viewed the outcome of the strike as hurting the competitiveness of the Big Three, while 30.7% said it would have no impact, and 29% said it would help make the companies more competitive.
  • About 20% of Michigan voters think the state is economically competitive, and more than a third consider the public education system to be a disadvantage. Overall, the poll indicated that 25.7% of those questioned viewed public education as a disadvantage, 26.9% as an advantage, and 38.3% as having no impact on competitiveness. The poll also showed that Democratic and independent voters strongly preferred investing in education. But Republican voters were evenly split between strong incentives, better training, and education.
  • More than two-thirds of Michigan voters support investing over cutting taxes, despite expressing dissatisfaction with the state’s tax structure.
  • Inflation and costs of goods remain top-of-mind concerns for Michigan voters. The chamber’s polling partner Glenfariff Group has found through extensive polling in the state that food and grocery prices are a primary driver of voters’ negative views of overall economic conditions despite generally strong economic indicators and confidence in their employment situation and opportunities.
  • Republicans believe Michigan is less competitive, but Democrats and independents believe the state is about the same as other states. Broken down by party affiliation, 29.9% of those who identify as Democrats believe the state is more competitive than other states, 33.5% about the same, and 22.2% less competitive. For Republicans, 10.2% believe the state is more competitive than other states, 21% about the same, and 42% less. Independents figures show that 15.4% believe the state is more competitive than other states, 47.8% about the same, and 18.4% believe Michigan is less competitive than other states.

“Michiganders are realizing that our state is not competitive in key areas, such as economic growth approaches and our public education system, and concerns about Michigan’s economic competitiveness are exacerbated by the UAW strike against the Detroit Three automakers,” says Sandy K. Baruah, president and chief executive officer of the Detroit Regional Chamber.

The poll states that perceptions of economic conditions are driven more by party affiliation as opposed to actual economic data pointing to a politically polarized population.

In reality, the chamber’s most recent economic data shows that key economic indicators are generally strong, including declining inflation and strong economic growth. Additionally, a vast majority of voters consider their own economic situations stable or improving, yet strong majorities hold sour views of overall economic conditions.

“When it comes to the state’s competitiveness, Michigan voters show remarkable nuance in their positions,” said Richard Czuba, president of The Glengariff Group. “While our natural resources, large business base, public universities, and skilled workforce are seen as large advantages, our public education system, tax structure, and infrastructure are seen as disadvantages. Similarly, while voters believe the result of the strike is good for workers, they have far more mixed feelings about whether it will have a positive impact on Michigan’s economy and automotive industry.”