Detroit Regional Chamber > Polls & Surveys > New Statewide Poll Reveals Perceptions on Inflation, Education, Business’ Role in Society, Evolving Voter Motivations, and More

New Statewide Poll Reveals Perceptions on Inflation, Education, Business’ Role in Society, Evolving Voter Motivations, and More

May 31, 2022

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DETROIT (May 31, 2022) – Today, the Detroit Regional Chamber released findings from its latest statewide poll of registered Michigan voters as the Chamber’s 2022 Mackinac Policy Conference gets underway. The data reveals trends in perception of inflation, the state’s education system, business’ role in social issues, and key voter motivations during a critical election year.

“This poll is enlightening as we enter the 2022 mid-term elections and will shape the discussions at the Mackinac Policy Conference, which will focus on the changing role of business in polarizing times,” said Sandy K. Baruah, president and chief executive officer of the Detroit Regional Chamber. “Voters continued to be energized to vote, with the potential of changes to Roe v. Wade fueling Democratic turnout. Consistent with the Chamber’s recent polling work with The Glengariff Group, we continue to see a disconnect between voters’ perceptions of the overall economy, which is highly negative driven by inflation concerns, but strong confidence in their own economic situation, including very low levels of job insecurity. Also of interest is the stark difference in how Democrats and Republicans (especially Strong Republicans) view issues – including issues that are seemingly non-partisan such as the quality of Michigan schools and the expected length of this inflationary period.”

The Chamber’s polling partner, The Glengariff Group Inc., completed this statewide poll of 600 registered Michigan voters between May 9-13, 2022.

“Voter motivation is looking similar to what we saw in 2018 and 2020 with high levels of motivation among Michigan voters. The threat of overturning Roe v. Wade has provided a jolt of motivation to Democratic voters while Republican voters remain highly motivated by their inflation concerns,” said Richard Czuba, president of The Glengariff Group, Inc. “A key to 2022 will be how these two different issues intersect among Independent voters.”

The following outlines the poll’s main themes:


72.8% Say the Economy is on the Wrong Track Due to Inflation

By a margin of 19.1%-72.8%, voters believe the economy is on the wrong track. Every
demographic group – including Strong Democratic voters – believes the economy is on the
wrong track.

When voters were asked in an open-ended question what the most important issue was facing Michigan, inflation drives the top concern – by a long shot. But the economic concern is inflation, not jobs. Second on the list is roads and infrastructure. Abortion makes a first-time showing at number three, coming in at 10.9% as the biggest concern among voters.

  • 33% – Economy/inflation
  • 13.4% – Roads/infrastructure
  • 10.9% – Roe v. Wade/abortion
  • 8.3% – Government leadership

Among the 72.8% of voters who said the economy was on the wrong track, 44% specifically cited inflation and cost of goods, 9.8% cited gas prices, and only 2.3% of these voters cited a lack of jobs.

Despite Inflation Concerns, Voters Report Economic Stability

Voters were asked if they personally were doing better, worse, or about the same economically as in the past.

28% say they are doing worse.
22.7% say they are doing better.
48.4% say they are doing about the same.

These numbers are nominally unchanged from December 2021.

ConditionDecember 2021May 2022Difference
About the Same48.0%48.0%No Difference

In December 2021, 73.5% of voters said they were economically doing the same or better as the past. In May 2022, 70.7% of voters say they are economically doing the same or better than the past.

For the 28% that say they are doing worse, they specifically cite inflation as the reason.
76.9% of those saying they are doing worse specifically cited increased costs as the reason.
Only 3.6% of those that say they are doing worse cite a lack of jobs or work.

In December 2021, 73.5% of voters said they were economically doing the same or better as the past. In May 2022, 70.7% of voters say they are economically doing the same or better than the past.

For the 28% that say they are doing worse, they specifically cite inflation as the reason.
76.9% of those saying they are doing worse specifically cited increased costs as the reason.
Only 3.6% of those that say they are doing worse cite a lack of jobs or work.

Generational Influences Evident in Inflation Concerns

54.7% of voters believe inflation will continue for years, while 34% believe it will begin to
slow down. Only Strong Democratic voters believe inflation will begin to slow down.

54.7% of voters believe inflation will continue for years, while 34% believe it will begin to
slow down. Only Strong Democratic voters believe inflation will begin to slow down.

Party AffiliationContinue for YearsBegin to Slow Down
Strong Democratic32.9%55.1%
Lean Democratic60.2%37.7%
Lean Republican78.6%19.0%
Strong Republican71.5%19.0%

Voters under 50 are far more likely to believe inflation will last years compared to voters over 50.

AgeContinue for YearsBegin to Slow Down

Chamber Perspective:

Not surprisingly, those old enough to remember the inflation of the 1970s and 1980s tend to view rising prices as a temporary phenomenon compared to those who have never experienced meaningful inflation. Two interesting findings in this data include the stark difference between Democrats and Republicans on their views regarding the duration of inflation and that a solid majority of voters believe this inflationary period will be prolonged, which may impact decisions by the Federal Reserve Bank. The FED looks at consumer expectations for long-term inflation as part of their policy development process, and – to date – consumers’ inflationary expectations have been more short-term.


Number of Voters Reporting Concerns About Losing Their Jobs Down Since December 2021

Among voters who currently hold jobs, 13.3% are concerned about losing their jobs while 85.3% said they are not concerned about losing their jobs. This number is down from 16.1% in December 2021. Only 3.5% of voters are very concerned about losing their job.

‘Great Reshuffling’ Among Young Professionals is the Untold Business Story of COVID-19

Voters were asked about their employment status prior to COVID-19 hitting. They were then asked about their employment status today.

  • 60.5% of those employed prior to COVID-19 are still in the same job.
  • 26.2% of those employed prior to COVID-19 are in a different job.
  • 5.4% of those employed prior to COVID-19 have retired or moved to disability.
  • 4.3% of those employed prior to COVID-19 are not working or looking for work right now.
  • 3.5% of those employed prior to COVID-19 are currently looking for work.

Breaking these changes down by demographics and education level:

  • 48.8% of those aged 18-29 and 31% of those aged 30-39 are in a new job since COVID-19.
  • 50% of African American workers are in a new job.
  • 32.1% of those without a college degree are in a new job compared to only 19.4% of those with a college degree.
  • 38.3% of those aged over 65 that worked prior to COVID-19 are now retired.
  • 11.2% of those aged 50-64 that worked prior to COVID-19 are now retired, and another 7.1% have simply chosen not to work right now. 18.3% of those aged 50-64 have left the work force.
  • 12% of women have left the workforce for retirement or to not work right now, compared to only 7.7% of men.
  • 11.2% of white workers have either chosen to retire or leave the workforce compared to only 3.8% of African American workers.

Chamber Perspective:

Of the many ways the economic shock of the pandemic period differs from the Great Recession, the health of today’s job market is one of the most notable. To have over a quarter of the workforce in different jobs since the pandemic shows the exceptional strength of the job market and the unprecedented opportunity for Michiganders to upgrade their jobs. The combination of the increase in retirements driven by the pandemic, continued strong consumer demand for goods and services, and the general shortage of high-skilled talent most in-demand by Michigan employers are the key factors in the ongoing labor shortage.


For workers that prior to COVID-19 primarily worked in an office setting, just over half of those
workers have returned full time to the office.

  • 55.8% said they are mostly back in the office.
  • 25.2% said they were working in an office/home hybrid setting.
  • 17.8% said they were working mostly from home.

By a margin of 87.1%-8.6%, these office workers said they felt safe working in an office setting again.

Chamber Perspective:

Despite increasing rates through spring 2022, most voters seem less concerned about COVID-19 and have pared down or fully abandoned health and safety precautions like mask wearing. Although the ways we work have changed throughout the pandemic, many businesses are making their way back into traditional office settings – and feeling comfortable doing so.


Voter Motivation Remains Strong Approaching November 2022

Voter motivation remains strong at 9.0 on a 10.0-point scale – consistent with December 2021 levels.

Strong Democratic motivation has increased to 9.5 from 9.3 in December 2021, while Strong Republican motivation has seen a slight decline from 9.4 to 9.2.

The chart below compares motivation to vote by party affiliation dating back 10 years. Base voters on both sides are motivated at levels comparable to the 2018 and 2020 elections. We continue to see ‘sagging’ in motivation numbers among Independent voters.

Party AffiliationOct 12Oct 14Oct 16Oct 18Jan 20Dec 21May 22
Strong Democratic8.
Lean Democratic7.
Lean Republican8.
Strong Republican8.

Changes to Roe v. Wade Driving Democratic Motivation

Voters were asked if overturning Roe v. Wade made them more or less motivated to vote in November – or whether it had no influence on their motivation.

  • 38.2% would be more motivated to vote – with 29.9% much more motivated.
  • 1.7% would be less motivated to vote.
  • 58.4% said Roe v. Wade would not influence their motivation to vote.

61.6% of Democratic women would be more motivated to vote as a result of overturning Roe v. Wade, with 50.3% of Democratic women sharing they would be much more motivated to vote.

Majorities Believe State and Local Election Counts Accurate Though Strong Republican Voters Remain Skeptical

By a margin of 54.9%-31.3%, Michigan voters believe state elections accurately count the vote and declare the correct winner. But those suspicious of an accurate statewide count are largely Republican voters.

State Count

Party AffiliationAccurateNot Accurate
Strong Democratic83.8%7.8%
Lean Democratic77.4%15.1%
Lean Republican40.5%38.1%
Strong Republican23.5%57.0%

But by a margin of 72.5%-14.3%, Michigan voters believe their local community election counts the vote accurately and declares the correct winner – including majorities of Republican voters.

Local Count

Party AffiliationAccurateNot Accurate
Strong Democratic86.8%3.6%
Lean Democratic81.1%11.3%
Lean Republican73.8%14.3%
Strong Republican60.1%22.8%

When asked how confident voters were that the 2022 election would be accurately counted and the winners correctly declared, 71.8% of voters were confident in the accuracy of the 2022 votes compared to 21.2% that were not confident.

A majority of Strong Republican voters, 52.5%, are confident the correct winners will be declared in 2022, with 38% not confident.

Party AffiliationConfidentNot Confident
Strong Democratic89.3%6%
Lean Democratic88.6%5.2%
Lean Republican71.4%19.1%
Strong Republican52.5%38%

Chamber Perspective:

High rates of voter motivation coming into the November 2022 election cycle is noteworthy, especially compared to the 2016 election. In 2016, according to Czuba, motivation was at an all-time low and has continued to increase significantly since. In 2016, motivation among Strong Democrats was 6.7 and for Strong Republicans was 6.5, compared to 2022’s rates of 9.5 and 9.2, respectively. With particularly hot policies related to the economy, abortion rights, and gun laws, for instance, voters are more engaged and committed to making their voices heard. The data also shows concerns over election validity are more pronounced in somebody else’s community – not their own. This mirrors the dynamic of satisfaction with a local member of Congress but dissatisfaction with Congress overall. The Chamber continues to be a leader in the business community supporting access to the ballot and equitable voting rights that uphold the security and integrity of elections.


Voters were asked if they thought Michigan public schools perform better, worse, or the same as public schools in other states.

  • 15.4% – Better (4.3% much better/11.1% little better)
  • 38.8% – Same
  • 21.6% – Worse (13.3% little worse/8.3% much worse)

24% of Michigan voters simply could not offer an assessment of the performance of Michigan public schools.

Perceptions of Education Compared to Other States Varied by Voter Location

Responses varied by the type of town in which the voter lives. In urban and small town
areas, voters are more critical than those in suburban and rural areas.

Type of TownBetterSameWorseDon’t Know
Small Town13.8%35.3%28.4%22.4%

When asked about their local schools, voters were more generous in their assessment.

  • 25.5% said their local schools were better than other schools.
  • 35.8% said their local schools were about the same as other schools.
  • 19.1% said their local schools were worse than other schools.
  • 17.6% could not offer an opinion.

Breaking these responses down further by demographics:

  • White voters were twice as likely to grade their local school better than African American voters.
RaceBetterSameWorseDon’t Know
African American14%40.7%30.3%15.1%

  • Voters without children were the most generous with their assessment of their local schools.
ChildrenBetterSameWorseDon’t Know
Preschool Children20.8%29.2%24.6%25.0%
K-12 Aged Children25.3%38.4%22.7%13.7%
No Children28.9%35.2%17.0%18.9%

Perceptions of Local Public Schools Also Varied Along Party Lines

While Republican voters were the most critical of Michigan public schools, they were the most generous toward their local public schools.

Republican VotersBetterSameWorseDon’t Know
Michigan Schools7.6%39.2%24.7%27.8%
Local Public Schools26.0%36.1%15.2%22.8%

Democratic voters, on the other hand, were harsher toward their local public schools.

Democratic VotersBetterSameWorseDon’t Know
Michigan Schools21.6%38.8%17.4%22.2%
Local Public Schools31.2%32.1%32.1%9.4%

Chamber Perspective: The low number of voters who believe Michigan schools are better than those in other states is not surprising. However, that a plurality believe Michigan schools are about the same as other states does not comport with reality. According to the Chamber’s 2022 State of Education report issued April 6, Michigan schools lag our national competitors. Education and talent issues are a primary focus of the Chamber, which has the most robust nonprofit education and talent program portfolio in the state.


When asked if they support or oppose Michigan business leaders taking public positions on
major policy issues, voters were mixed with 47.4% in support and 30.9% in opposition. 21.6% of
voters said it depends.

On this question, at least a plurality of each party affiliation supports business leaders taking
public positions, except among Strong Republican voters who oppose Michigan business
leaders speaking out by a margin of 32.3%-43.1%.

Party AffiliationSupportOppose
Strong Democratic53.9%26.4%
Lean Democratic60.4%22.6%
Lean Republican57.2%19.1%
Strong Republican32.3%43.1%

By a margin of 50.4%-33.7%, Michigan voters oppose legislators taking adverse actions against
a company that speaks out against a state law as Florida did to Disney.

There are sharp differences by party affiliation on this question with Strong Republican voters
supporting government action against a company that speaks out on policy. Democrats are
strongly opposed with Independents and Leaning Republicans more mixed on the issue.

Party AffiliationSupportOppose
Strong Democratic10.2%81.5%
Lean Democratic15%73.5%
Lean Republican36.1%40.5%
Strong Republican61.4%21.7%

Chamber Perspective:

Business leaders are feeling more responsibility, including from their employees, to speak up and participate in social and political issues. The issues that have risen to the surface the past few years are tied to the fundamental building blocks of American society and stability, which is critically important for business. The broad support for businesses being more vocal and active in social and political issues reflects the loss of confidence in other institutions such as media and government. Business leaders are increasingly filling the void. The 2022 Mackinac Policy Conference will explore business’ function and responsibility in these spaces and help leaders better understand where, how, and when to engage.


Biden Job Approval Declines to 36.2%

Joe Biden’s job approval is 36.2% approve to 54.7% disapprove. 8.8% of voters have no
opinion of Joe Biden’s performance. These numbers are a slight decline from December 2021.
Only 14.6% of voters strongly approve of Biden’s performance while 45.9% strongly
disapprove of his performance.

The chart below compares December 2021 to May 2022 by party affiliation. The number highlights the growing dissatisfaction with President Biden’s performance among Independent voters.

December 2021May 2022
Party AffiliationApproveDisapproveApproveDisapprove
Strong Democratic82.8%14.1%81.4%10.2%
Lean Democratic60%24.4%64.2%24.5%
Lean Republican6%83.6%9.5%85.8%
Strong Republican7.5%91.1%4.4%92.7%

Gov. Whitmer’s Approval Numbers Remain Steady, Disapproval Shows Minor Decline

By a margin of 48.9% approve to 40.8% disapprove, Michigan voters approve of Gov. Gretchen
Whitmer’s performance. 10.3% of voters have no opinion of her performance. Gov. Whitmer’s
approval numbers remain stable and consistent, with a slight drop in her disapproval numbers.

Her approval numbers remain ‘above water’ by 8.1% – but still fail to break the 50% mark.

Whitmer Job ApprovalApprovalDisapprove
January 202043.3%35.9%
September 202058.7%38.3%
October 202059.1%37.2%
February 202157.8%38.1%
May 202150%43.8%
September 202147.9%46.3%
December 202148.3%43.8%
May 202248.9%40.8%

The chart below looks at the Governor’s job approval by party affiliation. While Joe Biden’s job
approval is 18.4%-63.2% among Independent voters, Gov. Whitmer’s job approval with
Independent voters is 41.7%-40.5%.

Of particular note, Gov. Whitmer has 28.5% job approval among Leaning Republican voters. Among Leaning Republican men, Whitmer stands at 23.3%-70.0%, but among Leaning Republican women, she stands at 41.7%-58.3%.

Party AffiliationApproveDisapprove
Strong Democratic91.6%1.2%
Lean Democratic77.3%11.3%
Lean Republican28.5%66.6%
Strong Republican7.6%85.4%

Women approve of Gov. Whitmer by a margin of 53.6%-35.5%. Men are split at 44.0%-46.4%.


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.