New Survey Reveals Statewide Opinions on COVID-19 Economic Impact, Business Priorities, Vaccine, and Government Action

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The Detroit Regional Chamber released the findings from a new statewide poll of registered voters in Michigan that provides insight and data on how Michiganders have reacted to the ongoing dual public health and economic crises. The Chamber commissioned Glengariff Group Inc. to complete a statewide general population poll of 600 registered Michigan voters between Nov. 30 and Dec. 4, 2020.

The poll’s findings simultaneously demonstrate fundamental consistencies and an evolution of Michigan voters’ priorities compared with the Chamber’s previous polls conducted in April and May of 2020. The poll results show remarkable stability in how seriously Michiganders are taking the virus and how concerned they remain about the economic consequences of prolonged shutdowns.

The following are some key themes from the polling results:

Michiganders Continue to View COVID-19 as a Public Health Threat

  • A majority of Michigan voters believe the pandemic situation is worse in Michigan thanin April. 82.7% of Michigan residents believe the situation is the same or worse than April.
  • 60.3% believe the threat of COVID-19 has been balanced or downplayed, compared to 33.8% who believe the threat has been exaggerated. Those numbers remain virtually unchanged from May when 58.8% believed the threat of COVID-19 has been balanced or downplayed, compared to 32.2% who believed the threat has been exaggerated.
  • 83.8% of Michigan voters say that getting the pandemic under control would help Michigan’s economy.

Michigan Voters Overwhelmingly Say the Economy is Worse Than Before Pandemic

  • 83.7% of Michigan voters believe the state’s economy is worse now than before the pandemic hit.
  • There is deep and broad agreement among every demographic group that Michigan’s economy is worse since the pandemic.
  • 58% of Michigan voters say that COVID-19 is affecting their household finances.
  • Voters described COVID-19’s impact on their household finances. The numbers on the left look at December 2020 compared to the numbers on the right from May 2020. One in four voters continues to deal with catastrophic or major effects on their household finances.
Dec.  May Effect
6.2% 5.0% Catastrophic
18.0% 18.8% Major effect
34.2% 46.3% Minor effect
41.0% 27.7% No effect
  • The most significant impact continues to be on voters under the age of 40 years old. For voters 18-29, 34.1% said the impact was catastrophic or major. For voters 30-39, 32.8% said the impact was catastrophic or major.
  • 45.8% said the economy was worse because elected officials kept shutting down businesses.
  • 39.6% said the economy was worse because we cannot get the virus under control.

Top Post-Pandemic Priority: Support Small Businesses

  • 58% of Michigan voters said helping small businesses bounce back was the first issue that state leaders should address.
  • Voters shared what they believe is the first issue state leaders should work on once Michigan emerges from the pandemic.
    • 58.0% – Helping small businesses bounce back.
    • 6.7% – Improving access to health care.
    • 6.3% – Job training for people hurt by the pandemic.
    • 6.2% – Attracting more jobs to the state.
    • 5.8% – Improving Michigan’s schools.
    • 2.3% – Fixing Michigan’s roads and bridges.
    • 2.2% – Lowering the cost of college tuition.
    • 5.2% – Miscellaneous issues.

Michigan Voters Put Priority on Keeping Business Open

Voters were given a list of five entities and asked if they could only keep ONE open, which would be their highest priority.

  • 30.3% – Manufacturing plants
  • 22.8% – Retail and small businesses
  • 18.7% – K-12 schools
  • 3.8% – Construction companies
  • 3.5% – Restaurants

Cumulatively, business was the highest priority among all party affiliations. But at 24.1%, K-12 schools was the single highest priority for Strong Republican voters.

Governor Gets Higher Marks for Handling Pandemic Than Legislature

  • 63.3% of Michigan voters believe Gov. Whitmer is aggressively working on getting the pandemic under control and protecting public health. These favorable numbers for the Governor are virtually the same as they were in May.
  • 27.0% of voters believe she is not doing everything. More than half of the individuals who said the Governor was not doing everything said it was because she should open businesses or do nothing.
  • One-third of Republican voters believe Gov. Whitmer is doing everything she can to get the pandemic under control. Republican opposition of out-state voters drives the differences by region.
  • 29.0% of Michigan voters say the state’s legislative leaders are doing everything they can to get the pandemic under control. 46.5% of voters say they are not doing everything they can do.
  • The 46.5% of voters that said legislative leaders were not doing everything they could do were asked what they should be doing:
    • 40.9% said they should work and compromise with the Governor.
    • 11.1% said they should listen to scientists and health officials.
    • 8.6% said they should work on financial help.
    • 8.2% said they should enforce restrictions like masks and social distancing.

Voters Don’t See Bipartisanship 

  • Voters rated Gov. Whitmer on a scale of one to 10 for working in a bipartisan manner to get the pandemic under control. Overall, voters rated Gov. Whitmer at 5.8.
  • Metro voters rated her 6.5. Out-state voters rated her at 5.1. Independent voters rate her at 6.0 for bipartisanship.
Party Rating
Strong Dem 8.4
Lean Dem 7.6
Independent 6.0
Lean GOP 4.1
Strong GOP 2.9






  • Voters rated the State Legislature leaders on a scale of one to 10 for working in a bipartisan manner to get the pandemic under control. Overall, voters rated legislative leadership at 4.5. Legislative leaders get their highest rating from Leaning Democratic and Independent voters.
Party Rating
Strong Dem 4.1
Lean Dem 5.3
Independent 4.9
Lean GOP 4.6
Strong GOP 4.2






Michiganders Wear Masks With Strong Support of an Indoor Mask Requirement

  • 79.8% of voters said they always wear a mask indoors in public. 13.3% wear a mask most of the time, and 3.5% said occasionally.
  • In May 2020, 80.7% of voters said they wore a mask when in public. It appears these numbers have remained statistically unchanged.
  • By a margin of 68.2%-29.8%, Michigan voters overwhelmingly support the State Legislature passing a requirement that everyone must wear a mask indoors in public places.
  • Only one demographic group opposed a mask requirement: Strong Republican voters.
Party Support Oppose
Strong Dem 95.9% 1.7%
Lean Dem 91.1% 7.1%
Independent 72.3% 26.3%
Lean GOP 50.0% 48.1%
Strong GOP 33.5% 63.9%






  • 85.3% of voters say wearing a mask in public is important. There is only one noticeable demographic group where these numbers drop – Strong Republican. Only 65.2% of Strong Republican voters believe it is important to wear a mask in public.

Michiganders Listen to Public Health Officials

  • In addition to wearing masks, Michigan voters listen to public health officials, contributing to a noticeable decline in cases from the spike we had around Thanksgiving.
  • 76.2% of Michigan voters have changed their holiday plans.
  • 86% of Strong Democratic voters have changed their plans. 79% of Independent voters have changed their plans. 60% of Strong Republican voters have changed their plans.
  • Voters reported specifically how their plans had changed:
    • 19.9% – Smaller gatherings
    • 19.9% – No travel plans
    • 17.9% – No gatherings at all or staying alone
    • 12.7% – Canceled plans
    • 10.3% – Immediate family only
    • 10.1% – No family get together

Support Grows for Vaccinations

  • 52.5% of Michigan voters now say they will get the vaccine when it is available. 30.0% say they will not get the vaccine. 13.2% of voters said it depends.
  • This number represents a nearly eight-point increase from polling conducted in late October when only 44.6% said they would get the vaccine, 8% said they would not get the vaccine, and 17.5% said it depends.
  • There are significant differences among the population of those who are willing to get the vaccine. The chart below compares those that will or will not get the vaccine based on party affiliation.
Party Affiliation Will Will Not
Strong Dem 67.4% 16.3%
Lean Dem 51.8% 14.3%
Independent 50.8% 28.5%
Lean GOP 51.9% 31.5%
Strong GOP 41.1% 47.5%






  • While 57.8% of white voters will get the vaccine, only 32.9% of Black voters will get the vaccine. 26.6% of Black voters said it depends. This reluctance reflects the mistrust caused by past governmental abuse related to vaccines and public health trials.
  • The sharpest differences are by age, with voters over 50 willing to get the vaccine and those under 50 not planning to get the vaccine.
Age Will Will Not
18-29 41.8% 39.6%
30-39 36.1% 46.2%
40-49 43.2% 35.1%
50-64 63.5% 22.4%
65+ 70.8% 11.7%






View the full survey results.


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