Detroit Regional Chamber > Media Coverage > Survey: Michiganians Concerned About Inflation, Optimistic About Democracy

Survey: Michiganians Concerned About Inflation, Optimistic About Democracy

December 16, 2022

The Detroit News
Dec. 15, 2022
Candice Williams

While Michigan residents are concerned about inflation, they expressed optimism about the state’s democratic process following the November 2022 election, according a poll sponsored by the Detroit Regional Chamber.

The results of a Nov. 28-Dec. 1 survey by Glengariff Group released by the chamber on Thursday showed that 92% of 600 Michigan registered voters polled said they were concerned about inflation with 65% saying they were “very” concerned.

“Not surprisingly, the economy — especially the continued high level of inflation — continues to be front and center in voters’ minds,” Detroit chamber President and CEO Sandy Baruah said in a Thursday statement. “But other than certain pockets of voters, Michiganders appear to be expressing a collective sigh of relief post-election day with an increased confidence in our voting process, calls for a centrist agenda in Lansing, and confidence in Governor Whitmer as she embarks on her second term.”

The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Amid inflation concerns, respondents said they have turned their focus from gas prices to food prices.

The survey shows that 43% of voters said they were concerned about food prices while 22% reported concern about gas prices. The results also show that 21% were concerned about everything else while 3% were worried about utility costs and 3% were concerned about housing costs, such as mortgage and rent.

As a result of inflation, 66% of respondents said they have changed their purchasing habits, with 45% saying they have stopped making specific purchases and 21% of voters saying they choose to buy less or change what they buy. A third of respondents said they have not had to make new spending choices.

Despite inflation concerns, 66% of voters said they are doing better or the same economically than in the past.

“That combined number is a little bit lower than it was in some of our previous polling, where the number was in the 70s, but it does continue to show this dichotomy that we continue to see in human behavior,” Baruah said. “(Gross domestic product) is strong, the unemployment rate is still at record lows both nationally and close to record lows here in Michigan. People are clearly still spending because we’re seeing that in the economy, but they’re still very cranky.

“Especially when you ask them about how they are doing themselves, the vast majority of consumers and voters are saying ‘Hey. We’re doing OK, but we’re still cranky about the economy.’”

When it comes to government, 60% of voters said they were optimistic about democracy. The 29% who reported being pessimistic were more likely to be Republican voters. The most cited reasons for the pessimism was 25% responding “Political corruption and lies” and 13% saying “The Democrats are in power/Biden in power.”

Michigan survey respondents approved of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s performance 56%-37%, which is a little better than her nearly 11 percentage point margin of victory for re-election.

When it came to how an individual’s community handled the voting process during the November 2022 election, 90% of voters said they approved. About three quarters of voters said they approved of the way the state handled the election.

The survey shows strong voter approval of how last month’s election was conducted with 84% of voters approving and 13% disapproving of the process by which they cast their vote. There were 74% of voters who believe the election was fair.

“Michigan voters strongly approve of how this November’s election was conducted and how they were able to vote with only a small pocket of GOP voters having a problem,” Glengariff Group President and chief pollster Richard Czuba said in a statement. “When presented with a potential legislative agenda, voters gravitate towards areas like gun control where there is broad bipartisan agreement. Background checks and red flag laws are two pieces of low-hanging fruit that this legislature can enact quickly and unify voters.”