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.

WWJ NewsRadio: Brad Williams Talks State of the State Address

February 12, 2019

Michigan Matters

CBS Detroit


Brad Williams was on WWJ to talk about the State of the State address on February 12. 

Ora Hirsch Pescovitz and Richard Rassel: Taking on the talent gap

February 10, 2019

Crain’s Detroit Business

By: Ora Hirsch Pescovitz and Richard Rassel

In a few days Governor Gretchen Whitmer will deliver her first State of the State address. A major step in preparing for the state’s economic future is to ensure more residents complete postsecondary degrees and certifications.

In the heated competition with other states to attract private business investment, Michigan must elevate its profile as a talent pipeline to a range of industries in need of exceptionally qualified employees.

Yet before Michigan can boast a plentiful well-educated and highly trained workforce, there’s a pressing need to increase individuals with postsecondary degrees and high-skill job credentials. Degrees and credentials are prerequisites for advancement in a U.S. economy where 65 percent of jobs will require postsecondary credentials by next year.

By 2020, Michigan employers expect to need 176,000 more college grads to fill openings, and 126,000 skilled workers with a two-year degree or certificate, according to the Georgetown Center for Education and the Workforce. Of the current “Hot 50” high-demand, high-wage jobs in the state, 36 require at least a four-year degree.

The stark reality, however, is 72 percent of metro Detroit’s high school graduates enroll in a college or university within a year after graduation whereas only 27 percent of them earn a bachelor’s degree within six years.

There’s work to be done.

Detroit Drives Degrees is a collaborative initiative undertaken by regional leaders in higher education, K-12, business, philanthropy and the nonprofit sector. Led by the Detroit Regional Chamber Foundation, Detroit Drives Degrees seeks to increase postsecondary degrees or certificates to 60 percent of the population by 2030.

To improve job preparedness and the appeal of the regional workforce to regional, national and global employers, this plan calls for increasing access to education for high school students and adults; improving student success and removing barriers to degrees, and retaining and attracting talent to the region.

Currently, Michigan ranks 36th in the nation in college attainment with 28.3 percent of the population holding a bachelor’s degree or higher, according to the U.S. Census Community Survey. Michigan falls below the national average of 31.3 percent.

But with Michigan having the fifth-highest share of population with some postsecondary education but no degree or credential, there is a timely opportunity to make significant progress toward the 60-percent target. Detroit Drives Degrees and its partners are actively seeking to re-engage the 690,000 adults in metro Detroit who enrolled in college but did not finish.

The appeal is straightforward: More education translates strongly into higher wages and stronger state economies. Indeed, the top 15 states ranked by higher education attainment are also states with the highest GDP per capita.

Postsecondary education isn’t strictly about economics. Odds are five times greater for the poorest Detroit residents, for instance, to advance economically from poverty with a postsecondary education, according to the Pew Charitable Trust.

Together, more credentials and college degrees will deepen and broaden the region’s talent pool, a necessary road to take as Gov. Whitmer formulates the next phase of the state’s economic development strategy.

Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, president of Oakland University, and Richard Rassel, chair/director of global relations at Butzel Long, are co-chairs of Detroit Drives Degrees leadership council.

View the original article here

Three Upcoming Chamber Events You Do Not Want to Miss

In March and April, the Detroit Regional Chamber has approximately 15 events. For Chamber members, it can be difficult to know which events are the most important to attend. Non-members often have the same issue, especially considering the numerous obligations and events around the region that can quickly fill calendars.

To help you slim down your choices, check out three key events for businesses the Chamber is hosting over the next two months:

  1. State of the State: Now and in the Future. During a conversation over lunch on Tuesday, March 27, Gov. Rick Snyder will discuss how the state has grown over the past eight years while also looking at the long-term impact of those accomplishments. Following his remarks, the Governor will participate in a moderated discussion with business leaders from three key industries to forecast how Michigan will continue to grow in the coming years. This Chamber members-only event is $65. Please note that prices will increase on March 20. Register here.
  2. Inside the CEO Mind: Patti Poppe. Hear from Consumers Energy President and CEO Patti Poppe on Thursday, April 19 as she shares her journey in the energy and automotive industries that have led to her current position and how her commitment to customer-first management allows her to be a successful leader. Following her presentation, audience members are invited to participate in a question-and-answer session. This event is $30 for Chamber members and $50 for non-members. Please note that prices will increase on April 12. Register here.
  3. Networking Reception: Meet the Candidates. Attendees will meet the candidates who are running for the U.S. House of Representatives in Michigan’s 9th, 11th and 13th districts while mingling with fellow Chamber members in attendance. This event offers early access and the first opportunity to meet the declared candidates. This Chamber members-only event is $15 and takes place on Tuesday, April 24. Please note, pricing will increase to $25 on April 10. Register here.

For a full list of upcoming Chamber events, visit the events page.