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Aug. 5, 2011

Snyder’s ratings fall; consumer confidence drops

EAST LANSING, Mich. — The mood of Michigan residents has soured somewhat, according to Michigan State University’s latest State of the State Survey.

Gov. Rick Snyder’s approval rating fell to 31.5 percent in the spring/summer survey, which was completed in July. This compares with a 44.5 percent favorable rating in the previous survey, taken in March.

“Gov. Snyder succeeded in getting most of his priorities through the Legislature, but that has not translated into strong public approval,” said Charles Ballard, director of the quarterly survey and economics professor at MSU. “Snyder’s budget provided a tax cut for businesses, but it also involved tax increases for retirees, as well as substantial spending reductions. Moreover, the economy appears to have hit a flat spot.”

Ballard said Michigan’s unemployment rate decreased for 15 consecutive months at the end of Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s tenure, and continued to fall during the first four months of the Snyder administration. But unemployment has now crept back up for two months in a row.

Snyder’s approval rating is well below the 58.1 percent Granholm received when she first took office in 2003, but it’s also far above the 18 percent that she received at the end of her second and final term.

In keeping with the sluggish pace of the economic recovery, consumer confidence showed one of its largest decreases in several years. The drop came in response to the question about whether residents believe they will be better off a year from now. In the previous survey, 60 percent said they believe they will be better off, the highest percentage in about seven years. In the most recent survey, that number fell to 47.3 percent.

In addition, 46.7 percent of residents rated their financial situation as good or excellent, down from about 49 percent in the previous survey. Those saying they were better off financially than one year before also fell slightly, from 30 percent to 28.6 percent in the current survey.

While Snyder’s approval ratings fell, President Barack Obama’s stabilized. Obama received favorable ratings from 70.7 percent of the survey respondents when he came to office in 2009, but his ratings fell steadily during his first year in office. In the most recent survey, however, Obama received a favorable rating from 44.5 percent, which is identical to his rating in the previous survey.

The State of the State Survey, conducted by MSU’s Institute of Public Policy and Social Research, has monitored the public mood on important issues facing Michigan and the state’s major regions since 1994. The telephone survey of 947 residents has a margin of error of 3.2 percent.


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