Local leaders: Michigan Gov. Snyder’s job approval down sharply

July 20, 2016
Contact: Jared Wadley jwadley@umich.edu

ANN ARBOR—For the second straight year, fewer than half of Michigan’s local government leaders are optimistic about the state’s direction.

According to a University of Michigan survey, 44 percent believe the state is currently headed in the right direction, down from the recent high point (55 percent) in 2014.

The survey finds even worse news regarding views of Gov. Rick Snyder’s job performance. Just 41 percent of local leaders say Snyder is doing a good or excellent job, down sharply from 54 percent approval ratings last year.

“Among those who think Michigan is on the right track, most comments focus on issues related to the economy and business conditions, including low unemployment, strong tourism and rising home values,” said Tom Ivacko, administrator of the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy at U-M’s Ford School of Public Policy.

“Meanwhile, those who think the state is off track describe concerns about a broken relationship between the state government and local governments, concerns about funding local government, the emergency manager law and the Flint water crisis, tax policies, and more.”

Other key findings from the Michigan Public Policy Survey include:

  • Sixty percent of Republican local leaders say Michigan is headed in the right direction, compared to just 35 percent of independents and 20 percent of Democratic local officials.
  • Optimism about the state’s direction is declining sharply among leaders in the state’s largest jurisdictions, from 65 percent in 2014 to 52 percent in 2015, to just 40 percent today.
  • Job performance evaluations of the state legislature remain significantly lower than those for Gov. Snyder, who concludes his second term in office at the end of 2018.
  • Overall, just 20 percent of local officials give “good” or “excellent” ratings to the legislature, down from 23 percent last year.

MPPS surveys were sent April 4 – June 6, 2016, via hard copy and the internet to elected and appointed officials in Michigan. A total of 1,378 jurisdictions returned valid surveys, a 74-percent response rate. The margin of error was 1.3 percent.


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