Detroit Regional Chamber Releases Findings from Second Statewide Policy Poll

View the full findings of the Michigan Policy Poll.

DETROIT, MICH. (Jan. 27, 2020) – Today, the Detroit Regional Chamber released findings from a new statewide poll that highlights the issues that matter most to Michigan voters in advance of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s second State of the State Address and the Detroit Policy Conferencon Wednesday, Jan. 29.  

Michigan is going to be the key state in the election this year and it is important tknow what is on the minds of Michigan voters,” said Sandy Baruah, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber. “We are not interested in the national horserace. Today it is important to understand the issues Michiganders care most about – roads, health care, jobs, and the economy – this Michigan voter poll reflects that.” 

The Chamber is a leading voice for the business community on many statewide issues outlined in the poll. The poll was conducted by Glengariff Group Inc. of 600 Michiganders that are likely to vote in the November general election and the findings reflect a consensus among Michigan respondents on statewide and federal issues. 

Statewide Issue Highlights:

When asked if Michigan was on the right track, 46.2% of statewide voters believe the state is on the right track and 33.2% believe it is on the wrong track (20.7% no response).

When asked in an open-ended question, “What is the most important issue facing Michigan right now?” The top four responses were:

Roads and bridges (29.5%)
Jobs and the economy (18.0%)
Education/education funding (7.2%)
Water/sewer infrastructure (6.3%)






Michigan voters are still widely focused on fixing the roads. Roads and bridges ranked as the top issue in Michigan among every demographic group.

By a wide margin, 29.5% of Michigan voters ranked roads and bridges as the most important issue facing the state.

When asked if Michigan roads have gotten better, worse, or stayed the same, statewide voters said:

They have gotten worse (46.3%)
They are about the same (40.2%)
They have gotten better (11.7%)
No response (1.8%)





However, when asked if Michigan government have enough money to fix the roads or if the state needs to raise more money, a margin of 53.3%-33.7% of voters believe the state has enough money (13% no response).

“Michigan’s elected leaders continue to lose the PR battle on additional road funding. By a margin of 53%-33%, Michigan voters continue to believe that the state already has enough money to fix the roads as compared to needing additional revenues. As far back as 2012, we talked about how voters did not understand why Michigan needed more road money. And eight years later, voters still don’t understand why Michigan needs more money for roads,” said Richard Czuba, founder of Glengariff Group Inc.

The chart below compares how each party affiliation viewed this question. While Democratic voters appear split on the question, all other party affiliations strongly believe the state already has the money to fix the roads.

Party Affiliation Enough Money Need to Raise More Money
Strong Democratic (43.4%) (46.2%)
Lean Democratic (38.5%) (44.2%)
Independent (56.1%) (30.4%)
Lean GOP (56.9%) (30.6%)
Strong GOP (64.4%) (20.7%)

Voters were asked who they would trust to spend the money if more money was raised for roads:

Their local city or township government (29.7%)
Their county government (29.7%)
Michigan state government (22.5%)
None (12.2%)
No response (6.0%)





Looking closely at the demographics:

  • Strong Republican voters were most likely to support their county (37.8%) to spend the money.
  • Strong Democratic voters were most likely to support state government (35.8%) to spend the money.
  • Independent voters were most likely to support their local government (33.8%) to spend the money.

Voters were asked if they would be more or less likely to support an increase in road revenues if they knew their local government would be responsible for handling the money and making the road fixes.

More likely to support (47.4%)
Less likely to support (15.3%)
It would make no difference to them (32.2%)
No response (5.2%)





Debt-Free Community College for Adults

By a margin of 74%-22.1%, Michigan voters strongly support providing debt-free community college tuition to any Michigan adult who is re-entering the workforce or needs to get retrained because their job has been eliminated.

Additionally, 56% of Michigan voters strongly support free community college tuition.

The chart below looks at support by party affiliation. Only Strong Republican voters are split on the proposal.

Party Affiliation Support Oppose
Strong Democratic (90.8%) (6.4%)
Lean Democratic (90.4%) (9.6%)
Independent (78.4%) (18.3%)
Lean GOP (65.3%) (30.5%)
Strong GOP (45.9%) (48.2%)






Extending Elliott Larsen

By a margin of 77.3%-16%, Michigan voters continue to strongly support legislation to prohibit discrimination in employment or housing of LGBT Michiganders. 66.3% strongly support the legislation while only 9.5% strongly oppose the legislation (6.7% no response).

Requiring Hands-Free Driving Devices

By a margin of 88.3%-9%, Michigan voters strongly support legislation that would prohibit drivers from holding their cell phones while they are driving and require them to only use a hands-free device. 77.5% of voters strongly support the hands-free legislation (2.7% neither support or oppose, or no response).

This is the second poll the Detroit Regional Chamber has commissioned by Glengariff Group Inc. ahead of the November 2020 general election. The first was conducted in July 2019 in advance of the CNN Democratic Debate in Detroit and it also focused on issues that were top of mind for voters to ensure the candidates were focusing on the issues Michigan cares about.

National Issue Highlights:

Washington dominates as the most important issue facing the nation for Michigan voters. When asked in an open-ended question, what is the most important issue facing the nation, Michigan voters said:

President Trump and his impeachment were the most important issue (15.2%)
Jobs and the economy (12.5%)
Access to health care (10.0%)
The political divide in the nation (9.0%)
The possibility of war (8.8%)






Looking closely at the demographics:

  • 31.8% of Strong Democratic voters said President Trump was the most important issue facing the nation, while 20% of Strong Republican voters said the political divide in the nation was the most important issue.
  • By a margin of 62.2%-26.7%, Michigan voters believe the national economy is on the right track (11.2% no response).
  • When asked if the economy is better today than it was four years ago, 51.2% said it was better, 28.8% said it was the same, and 16.2% said it was worse (3.8% no response).

There were major differences based on whether or not the household had a 401K.

  • For households with a 401K, 57.8% said the economy was better, 28.3% said it was the same, and 10.5% said it was worse.
  • But for households without a 401K, only 36.8% said it was better, 30.5% said it was the same, and 27.4% said it was worse.

Michigan voters were asked if their household finances were better today than they were four years ago, 42% said their finances were the same, 38.3% said they were better, and 17.3% said they were worse (2.3% no response).

There were major differences based on whether the household had a 401K.

  • 46.5% of households with a 401K said their finances were better, while only 24.2% of households without a 401K said their finances were better.

Health Care

Michigan voters with private and employer health insurance are overwhelmingly satisfied with their insurance.

When voters were asked if they had health insurance and if so what kind of insurance they had:

No coverage (4%)
Yes, employer provided coverage (56.3%)
Yes, paid for private coverage (8%)
Yes, Medicare (20.2%)
Yes, Medicaid (9%)
No response (2.5%)






Looking closely at the demographics:

  • While 61.2% of white voters said they had employee coverage, only 33.3% of African American voters said they had employee coverage.
  • Voters with employee and private coverage were asked if they were satisfied or unsatisfied with their health insurance.
  • 75.1% of voters with employee or private coverage are satisfied with their coverage, while 43.0% are very satisfied, and 32.1% are somewhat satisfied. 22.0% are not satisfied with their coverage.
  • Michiganders choose moderate options on health care and agree across the board on pre-existing conditions.

When Voters were read four different options about our nation’s health care system and asked which they supported the most:

We should expand the existing Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, to give anyone the option to purchase their health coverage through Medicare. This is known as Medicare for All who want it. (35.8%)
We should make some changes to the Affordable Care Act, but we shouldn’t go beyond that. (20.2%)
We should create one Medicare for All system in which everyone has the same health insurance plan and private insurance would not be required. (20%)
We should leave the system alone. It is working fine and there is really nothing wrong with it. (8.5%)
No response (9.0%)








“It is a great misconception that voters are unhappy with their current health insurance coverage. 75% of voters with employer provided or private health insurance coverage are satisfied with their coverage. That is why 67% of Michigan voters choose a national health option that is not Medicare for All. Voters want a more moderated direction in the national health care debate,” said Czuba, founder of Glengariff Group Inc.

Looking closely at the demographics:

  • Among Strong Democratic voters, 51.4% chose Medicare for All that want it, while 23.1% chose Medicare for All.
  • The lowest support percentage for Medicare for All came among Strong Republican voters (8.1%), union households (13.1%), and African American voters (14.1%).
  • The strongest support for ‘Medicare for All that want it’ came from African American voters (59%) and Strong Democratic voters (51.4%).
  • 21.5% of Strong Republican voters said we should leave the health care system alone. 27.4% chose minor reforms to the Affordable Care Act.

Ranking Local, State and Federal Leaders for Civility

Since 2017, the Chamber has led a call to restore civility in public discourse. Given civility is a signature priority for the Chamber, Michigan voters were asked their opinion on the nation’s current state.

When Michigan voters were asked to rank local, state, and federal leaders on their civility. Using a one to 10 scale – with one being lowest and 10 being highest – voters were asked to score each entity on civility.

Your local city and township government (6.7)
Your local mayor or township supervisor (6.7)
Governor of Michigan (5.5)
Michigan State House and State Senate (5.2)
United States House of Representatives and Senate (4.2)
President of the United States (4.2)
Social media like Facebook and Twitter (3.6)








Looking closely at the demographics:

Republicans voted:
President the most civil of the entities (7.6)
Social media the lowest (3.2)
United States House of Representatives and Senate (3.7)
Governor of Michigan (3.8)





Independents voted:         
Their local mayor or supervisor highest (6.5)
Social media the lowest (3.6)
The President (4.0)




Democrats voted:         
Governor of Michigan highest (7.1)
President of the United States lowest (1.7)






The poll is a live operator telephone survey of 600 likely November 2020 general election Michigan voters conducted from January 14-18, 2020. The survey has a margin of error of +/-4.0% with a 95% level of confidence. 62% of respondents were contacted by landline telephone. 38% of respondents were contacted by cell phone.

View the full findings of the Michigan Policy Poll.

Michigan’s Talent Shortage Requires Preparing All Types of Citizens

To ensure we are building the future workforce that the economy demands, the Detroit Regional Chamber is focused on supporting smart policy that will empower and prepare all types of Michiganders to fill the talent demand for employers across the region and state that tell us their top issue is a talent shortage.

The Chamber has advocated in the education and workforce space for decades with a focus on increasing postsecondary education attainment through policies such as increased dual enrollment and expanded, need-based financial aid, among other focuses on K-12 education.

There is a significant opportunity for the nearly 700,000 people in Detroit that have started college but “stopped out” before receiving a degree or credential to connect with the required education or training businesses need in their talent pool.

To get more of Michigan’s citizens into the workforce and continue to grow the economy, the Chamber supports:

  • Michigan Reconnect, to help connect a large portion of the adult population without degrees or certificates on a path towards continued education. This policy work is supported by the Chamber’s education and talent strategy program work that is already reengaging adult students with some or no college experience in the Detroit region to get them on a track to a degree or training certificate.
  • Going Pro in Michigan, to upskill and rescale adults who find themselves left behind in our rapidly changing economy.
  • Criminal Justice Reform, to reduce lengthy and costly sentences and provide age-appropriate rehabilitation. Currently, the Chamber is advocating for a six-bill expungement reform package is going through the Michigan House of Representatives that will open up the expungement process to many Michigan residents who struggle to find a job because of past criminal records and open up eligibility for a number of low-level offenses such as traffic offenses that are ineligible under the current expungement law.
  • Immigration Reform, to fix the broken immigration system and provide businesses with global talent that will help keep our economy competitive.

The data shows that getting our high school graduates into the right universities or skilled trade programs is not enough to produce the workforce pipeline needed to be competitive in a 21st-century economy and beyond. By engaging all kinds of populations, Michigan can meet the talent demands businesses require and be an economically competitive state.


Top Automotive Executives to Meet with Legislators On MICHauto Policy Priorities; Rep. Rebekah Warren Named Legislator of the Year

LANSING, MICH, April 16, 2019 – Today, MICHauto, a statewide initiative of the Detroit Regional Chamber, convenes executives from 25 automotive companies for meetings with 25 state legislators in Lansing. For the sixth consecutive year, MICHauto has brought together the automotive industry and legislators to discuss the impact of the industry across the state. For the second year, industry leaders identified policy priorities that are most important to their continued growth.

The 2019 policy priorities focus on the following areas:

  • Industry Talent Pipeline: Development of a strong talent pipeline for the automotive industry and next-generation mobility development.
  • Connected, Automated, Shared and Electric Vehicle R&D and Testing: Ensure that Michigan remains at the forefront for companies and research institutions.
  • International Trade: Encourage productive efforts to promote fair trade through the pursuit of high-standard trade agreements.

View the full policy priorities.

“The MICHauto policy priorities were created with the automotive industry and represent their thoughts on what we need to focus on to ensure future economic success,” said Glenn Stevens, executive director of MICHauto and vice president of automotive and mobility initiatives for the Detroit Regional Chamber. “Meeting with legislators is crucial to ensuring that policymakers understand the industry’s issues, opportunities, and our collective economic impact.”

Additionally, each year, MICHauto recognizes a distinguished legislator for his or her commitment to the state and the automotive industry. This year’s honoree state Rep. Rebekah Warren (D-MI 55) will be recognized during a luncheon reception between meetings.

Rep. Warren’s commitment to driving next-generation vehicle R&D, her sponsorship and creation of the framework to allow the establishment of the American Center for Mobility, and her appointment on the Michigan Council on Future Mobility all serve as compelling testaments to her leadership in supporting Michigan’s largest industry.

“I am honored to be named Legislator of the Year for MICHauto, and I look forward to continuing to work to ensure that Michigan is positioned to lead the transformation to next-generation mobility,” said Rep. Warren. “The automotive industry is our state’s signature, as well as a key economic driver of our state with tremendous potential for growth. I am proud to partner with industry leaders and state policymakers to protect the future of this critical sector, which will benefit all of our state’s residents.”

Past recipients of the Legislator of the Year award include Senator’s Steve Bieda (D-Warren), Ken Horn (R-Frankenmuth), Mike Kowall (R-White Lake), and Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City).

About MICHauto

MICHauto, Michigan’s only automotive cluster association, is a statewide economic development initiative of the Detroit Regional Chamber. Dedicated to promoting, retaining and growing the automotive and next-generation mobility industry in Michigan, MICHauto embodies a public-private strategy, championing Michigan as the global epicenter of the automotive industry and providing a platform for collaboration on advocacy, business attraction and retention, and talent attraction. To learn more, visit

2019 Legislative Priorities Focus on Growing the Detroit Region

The Detroit Regional Chamber’s Board of Directors recently adopted its legislative priorities for 2019. These 14 priorities, which are critical to economic development and growth of the region, include investing in infrastructure, support for a reliable regional transit system, maintaining a pro-growth tax structure, and creating pathways to postsecondary education and careers, among many other pro-business policy issues. This year’s priorities are aligned with the five pillars that guide the Chamber’s economic development strategy to position the region for global competitiveness.


  • Maintain a pro-growth tax structure that allows Michigan to compete globally for business and talent.
  • Encourage smart spending policies and long-term budgeting that prioritizes fiscal solvency.
  • Maintain a regulatory climate that is conducive to Michigan’s growing economy.
  • Support reforms for Michigan’s criminal justice system that reduce lengthy and costly sentences and provide age-appropriate rehabilitation.
  • Support policies that expand employment opportunities for chronically underemployed populations.


  • Increase dedicated infrastructure funding and lead efforts to prioritize regional transit options for the Detroit region.
  • Encourage regional policies that are consistent with state and federal law and balance local needs with economic growth.
  • Promote policies that increase access to health insurance while opposing policies that drive up costs for employers and individuals.


  • Maintain rigorous K-12 standards that allow students to succeed in the global economy.
  • Create greater accountability for quality and siting in charter schools.
  • Increase postsecondary education attainment through policies such as increased dual enrollment and expanded, need-based financial aid.

Global Connectivity:

  • Create pathways to career opportunities in the automotive industry that develop high-skilled talent, including support for immigration reform and the attraction of international students.
  • Promote smart trade policy, including continued USMCA participation and resisting short-sighted trade restrictions or tariffs that inhibit growth.

Next-Generation Mobility:

  • Support policies that allow Michigan to continue to lead in research and development testing for next generation mobility solutions and other emerging industry sectors.