In Michigan we get a regular glimpse of what people in the state are thinking about the economy, how well they’re doing financially, what they think of the president, the governor, Congress, the state Legislature, and local government.
Michigan State University released its State of the State Survey today. Charles Ballard is the director of the survey.
The survey polled “almost 1000” people with a ±3.15% margin of error.
Ballard tells us that 60% of respondents listed their family’s economic situation as "good or excellent."
“That’s the highest since the turn of the century,” Ballard says. As the economy suffered the numbers slid, but “they’ve been on the rebound for the last five years, and this is the highest that we’ve seen in a long time.”
He says it’s hard to tell at this point whether this result is part of a long term trend or “just a blip,” but the data seem to suggest the former.
According to Ballard, Gov. Rick Snyder’s approval rating has remained relatively consistent through each survey, hovering “in the mid to upper 30s for most of his time in office.”
This survey didn’t include any questions regarding Michigan’s Legislature, but Ballard says when they have asked in the past, the scores for both state and Congress “have typically been very low.”
This survey did, however, ask Michigan citizens how much they trust federal, state, and local governments.
“It’s always been true that people are more trusting of their local government,” Ballard says. In second place is the state government, with federal government trailing behind.
In recent years, Ballard says that the gap between state and federal government has been shrinking, as the state’s score falls near that of the federal government.
The survey highlighted three issues most important to the Michigan public: jobs and the economy, roads, and education.
Ballard says the only real surprise there is that education didn’t rank in second place as it has historically. He speculates that roads took second place partly due to the fact that the survey was conducted in the spring, when there was a lot of discussion about how to fund road repair.
“My guess is that when we ask this question again next year, roads may have receded in the public imagination somewhat … and I’m hoping that by that time the Legislature will have found a way to at least begin to address the problem,” Ballard says.
Ballard tells us more about the survey results in our conversation above.