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The 86th State of the State Survey Brief Report (.pdf) has been released, March 13th, 2023 by the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research.

The survey addresses the following subjects:

Section A: Economic Optimism

Respondents continue to have a relatively pessimistic view of their current and future financial situations. The only positive trend was the expectation that inflation may decrease over the next 12 months.

Section B: Assessment of Political Leaders

Governor Whitmer's approval rating climbed from the last round of SOSS in Fall 2022 and is still within the Fair to Good range. President Biden's rating is nearly the same as the previous survey, with a rating of Fair.

Section C: Trust in Government

The Federal government continues to be the least trusted level of government, and Local governments remain the most trusted. Compared to the previous SOSS, the level of trust for both the state and local governments trended upwards and the level of trust for the federal government continued to decline.

Section D: Important Policy Changes at the Federal and State Levels

Respondents were asked about policy changes within the past two years. The impact of the policy change on the respondent as well as the recency of the policy change could impact what policies come to mind for these open-ended questions.

In terms of federal policy changes over the past two years, overturning of Roe vs. Wade and its implication for women’s rights were mentioned the most often as either the largest policy change or as an important policy change by over half the respondents. Immigration and border control changes also received a relatively high percent of mentions.

Policy changes associated with abortion rights (Proposal 3) at the state level were also reported the most often as the most important policy change either as the largest change or as another important change. Policy changes associated with the State’s response to COVID and the impacts of that response was given the second most often for both questions (largest/another important).

Section E: Heard of Federal and State Policy Changes

Of the federal policy changes within the past two years, the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court and federal student loan forgiveness were the two most known. The policy changes that were heard of the least were the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on limiting energy regulation and the raising of the minimum age of tobacco sales.

For the State of Michigan policy changes, there was much higher awareness of the Michigan Road and Water Infrastructure Spending Bill than for the tax incentives for business investment and the increased funding for state policy and local sheriffs. This may be due to the high visibility, to the general public, of the impacts of the infrastructure bill compared to the others.

Of interest was that the lack of awareness for some of the policy changes was high for both those that follow politics at a relatively high level compared to those that do not. This was found in the ruling on limiting energy regulation, tax incentives for business investment in Michigan, and the increased funding of state police and local sheriffs. This was most obvious when looking at raising the minimum age for tobacco sales where those that followed politics were slightly more likely to have not heard about the policy change than those that followed it less. This suggests that the lack of awareness for at least some of the policy changes may be due in part to lack of information available to the public.

Section F: Support for Federal Bills

More than half of the respondents supported both the President’s Infrastructure Bill and the Inflation Reduction bill with the Infrastructure Bill receiving more support.

In terms of support for the Inflation Reduction Bill, the wording versions of the question asking about support slightly impacted the level of support with the wording that provided the least amount of information (name only) receiving the highest level of initial support compared to those who received some information or detail information about what was included in the bill. After providing additional information about some of the provisions included in the bill, the respondents who received the name only version were still more likely to support the bill with the others decreasing their support after the additional information.

Of the five provisions included in the Inflation Reduction Bill that were presented to the respondents, all but the increasing funding to the IRS provision was supported by well over half of the respondents with the prescription drug price negotiation in Medicare receiving the highest support.