Business Leaders for Michigan poll shows voters broadly agree on top issues the state must focus on to improve competitiveness

October 4, 2022
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Michigan voters also slightly optimistic about the direction of the state’s economy and very optimistic about their own personal economic situation

 DETROIT – With five weeks until Election Day, Michigan voters have made it clear that improving K-12 public schools, investing in the state’s roads and bridges, closing the skills gap and making sure Michigan has the right tools to lure businesses and jobs are their top priorities for state leaders to focus on to make Michigan more competitive, according to a poll commissioned by Business Leaders for Michigan. More than 39% of voters also say the governor and Legislature are most important to fixing Michigan’s challenges.

The statewide voter poll of 600 likely voters also shows Michiganders are optimistic about the state’s economy and even more bullish about their own personal economic situation, even in the face of national economic uncertainty.

About 41% of those polled feel optimistic about Michigan’s economic direction, 32% are pessimistic and 23% are indifferent. That optimism grows when voters are asked about their own financial situation, with more than 62% saying they feel optimistic about their own economic situation, as opposed to nearly 20% saying they feel pessimistic and 15% indifferent.

Voters also say they have the same or better job opportunities compared to their parents, with nearly 44% saying they’re better, about 29% saying they’re about the same and 22% saying the opportunities are worse. Nearly 58% of Black voters say their opportunities to find a good-paying job today versus their parents are better, compared to 41% of white voters.

Voters across the spectrum also expressed the importance of having the ability to have their voices heard in well-run elections, ranking that among their top priorities to improve the state’s competitiveness. Reflecting that sentiment, while Democrats and Republicans have shared different ideas on what they mean by election security, the state Legislature also has come together to pass a series of bipartisan election bills including preprocessing absentee ballots and new requirements for ballot drop boxes.

“Michigan voters agree that investments in education, infrastructure, people, and job growth are key to a competitive economy,” said Jeff Donofrio, president and CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan. “With an election around the corner, now is the time to focus on what’s important to make this state better tomorrow than it is today.”

The poll results raise several issues that voters could ask candidates to address:

  • FACT: New data from Kids Count shows Michigan ranked 40th in the country for education, with nearly 70% missing proficiency standards for reading in fourth grade and math in eighth grade. About one-in-five Michigan high schoolers aren’t graduating on time, with larger gaps for kids in poverty.
  • QUESTION for candidates: Do you believe there is a crisis in Michigan’s K-12 public school system? If yes, what is your plan for transformative change so that every child has an opportunity to obtain a world-class education?
  • FACT: In Business Leaders for Michigan’s 3rd quarter economic outlook survey, 84% of the state’s top business executives said they are having a difficult time filling jobs.
  • QUESTION for candidates: How would you address worker shortages? What is your plan for more Michiganders to get the skills and training needed to fill jobs?
  • FACT: Michigan’s economy traditionally has higher exposure to global downturns and fewer jobs in fast-growing industries.
  • QUESTION for candidates: What is your plan to grow and diversify the state’s economy? Are you committed to making and keeping Michigan competitive with other states that also are trying to lure jobs and businesses?

The Glengariff Group, Inc. conducted the survey of likely 2022 General Election voters. The 600 sample, live operator telephone survey was conducted Sept. 6-11, 2022 and has a margin of error of +/-4.0% with a 95% level of confidence. 26.0% of respondents were contacted via landline telephone. 74.0% of respondents were contacted via cell phone. This survey was commissioned by Business Leaders for Michigan.


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About Business Leaders for Michigan:

Business Leaders for Michigan, the state’s business roundtable, is dedicated to making Michigan a Top 10 state for jobs, education, widely shared prosperity and a healthy economy. The organization is composed exclusively of the executive leaders of Michigan’s largest companies and universities. Our members drive 40% of the state’s economy, employ more than 540,000 people in Michigan, generate over $1 trillion in annual revenue and serve more than half of all Michigan public university students. Find out more at