MSUToday
Published: March 5, 2018

State of the State Survey: Michiganders optimistic about economy, less happy with leaders

Contact(s): Caroline Brooks Communications and Brand Strategy office: 517-432-0920 caroline.brooks@cabs.msu.edu, Cynthia Kyle IPPSR office: (517) 353-1731 kylec@msu.edu

The latest State of the State Survey reveals that Michiganders are more confident in the economy than they are in elected officials, and they have a positive outlook for what the financial future holds.

Responses to the SOSS, produced by Michigan State University's IPPSR, or Institute for Public Policy and Social Research, indicated that 58 percent of those answering the survey said their current financial situation is excellent or good, and 46 percent said they were better off than a year ago. Both of these readings were just slightly below the all-time highs, set in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

President Donald Trump's ratings of "excellent" or "good" were up very slightly, from 28 percent in the previous survey to 29.7 percent in the latest measure. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder received favorable ratings from 26.3 percent of Michigan residents.

"It's remarkable to see such low ratings for elected leaders, at a time when the economy is in better shape than it has been in many years," said Charles Ballard, MSU economist and director of SOSS. "Snyder's favorable ratings have been below 30 percent since the Flint water crisis. Trump's low ratings may be the result of some of his divisive rhetoric."

Highlights from the SOSS include:

  • Trump's "excellent" ratings outpace Snyder's by 10.2 percent to 5.5 percent, but his "poor" ratings are also higher than Snyder's.
  • Michiganders have a positive outlook on the financial future. Nearly 63 percent believe they'll be better off financially in a year.
  • Men rate their financial situation more favorably than women, with 62 percent of men saying their situation is "excellent" or "good", which compares with 53 percent of women.

The current economy has considerable momentum, Ballard said. "It's hard to make predictions - especially in a global economy - but some optimism is justified. The next six months are likely to be pretty good."

View the full SOSS results on the IPPSR website, and listen to the State of the State podcast.

The State of the State Survey is the only survey conducted in Michigan designed to systematically monitor the public mood on important issues statewide. The survey has been conducted since 1994 by the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research. IPPSR is a unit of MSU's College of Social Science.

Charles Ballard weighs in on the economy and elected officials in the latest State of the State survey.

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