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SOSS - State of the State Survey

Initiated in October 1994, Michigan State University's State of the State Survey is the only survey conducted in Michigan designed to systematically monitor the public mood on important issues in major regions of the state. SOSS is administered by the Institute for Public Policy & Social Research's Office for Survey Research.

SOSS is a quarterly statewide telephone survey of a random sample of about 1,000 adult residents of Michigan.

Surveys run about 20 minutes in length. Seven minutes of each survey are set aside for a core set of questions to provide background information and to monitor the public's satisfaction with existing economic conditions.

The surveys are based on stratified random samples of adults age 18 and older living in Michigan. The data sets include "weights" to adjust the data so that they are representative of the adult population of Michigan. Information about the weights is provided in the Methodological Report for each wave.

The major goals of SOSS are to provide:

  • Citizen opinion on timely issues.
  • Data for scientific and policy research.
  • Information and program evaluation for organizations, nonprofit groups and university faculty and administrators.
  • Survey research methodology.
  • Opportunities for student training and research.

SOSS Staff

Charles L. Ballard, Ph.D.

Dr. Ballard is Director of the State of the State Survey (SOSS) and Professor of Economics at Michigan State University. He has been on the MSU faculty since 1983, when he received his Ph.D. from Stanford University. His research has focused on such topics as tax policy, healthcare financing, and Michigan's financial future.

He co-edited "Michigan at the Millennium," a portrait of the state's fiscal and economic structure, and is winner of the 2007 College of Social Science Alumni Association Outstanding Teacher Award. His most recent book is "Michigan's Economic Future: A New Look." He is also the author of "Real Economics for Real People" and "A General Equilibrium Model for Tax Policy Evaluation."

He has served as a consultant to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Michigan Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Department of Treasury. He can be reached at ballard@msu.edu or 517-353-2961.

Graham L. Pierce

Mr. Pierce serves in three distinct capacities at Michigan State University, dividing the majority of his time between public opinion surveys, technology accessibility, and economic development. First, he is the Project Manager of the State of the State Survey, a phone survey of Michigan adults about current public policy issues that is run two to four times each year, at the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research. He is responsible for all aspects of SOSS, including question design, programming survey instruments, managing survey samples, data weighting, and working with clients. In his second major role, Graham is a Senior Accessibility Specialist at Usability/Accessibility Research and Consulting, where he supervises and conducts WCAG 2.0 evaluations, advises on accessibility policy, and works on grant-funded research. Finally, Graham is the Digital Communications and Networking Coordinator for the EDA University Center for Regional Economic Innovation at the Center for Community and Economic Development. He is involved in all facets of the project, but is primarily responsible for managing the project's data collection, communications, and website. In addition to these roles, Graham serves as the Vice Chair of the MSU Accommodating Technology Community and is an active participant in the MSU WebDev CAFE and many other university and community groups. Graham earned his Master's degree in Cognitive Psychology at Michigan State University. For more information, visit Graham's webpage or LinkedIn Profile.