Poll on Snyder's Michigan: Improving but still mixed opinions

(WXYZ) - As Governor Rick Snyder begins his second year in charge of Michigan, his favorability and job performance are up slightly but opinions are extremely mixed on his leadership and how he will fix some of this state's biggest problems. 

Many of the 600 people we polled statewide are still waiting to see if Snyder's policies are making a real difference and they're hesitant to invest a lot in Michigan's future.

Our exclusive WXYZ-TV/Detroit Free Press poll found that 46-percent have a favorable opinion of Governor Snyder compared to 40-percent who don't like him. But that's a 7-point improvement over the same question asked in November 2011. Along political lines, three-quarters of Republicans like him compared to only 15-percent among Democrats. Independents are generally split.

On the question of job performance, 54-percent give Governor Snyder a negative job rating which is 5-points better than the 59-percent he polled last fall. Forty-one percent currently approve of what he has been doing since he took office. Only 5-percent are undecided. 

Bernie Porn, President of the EPIC MRA polling firm, said Snyder's improved ratings "are a direct result of improvements in the economy."

When likely voters were asked if Snyder's policies have made Michigan a better place to live than a year ago, 44-percent say his changes haven't made a difference, 31-percent believe his actions have made the state better, and 23-percent think his policies have made Michigan worse.

Fixing Michigan's crumbling roads and bridges was listed as a priority in the Governor's recent State of the State Address. But he faces an uphill battle coming up with money to improve them. 

More than half of the respondents, 58-percent, oppose hiking the gas tax and/or increasing vehicle registration fees to upgrade Michigan's infrastructure. Only 36-percent are willing to pay more taxes for the repairs, 6-percent are undecided.

Even the much talked about replacement of the Michigan Business Tax with a 6-percent corporate income tax gets mixed opinions. Thirty-two percent say it hasn't impacted Michigan's economy at all. Thirty-one percent believe it's a positive move for Michigan, 14-percent think it has been bad for the state's economy, and nearly one out of every four are still undecided.

Last month's 9.3 unemployment rate dropped to its lowest level since September 2008. About one out of every three respondents say it was due to "people dropping out of the job market or leaving the state." Nearly one out of every four people who participated in the survey gave credit to a rebounding auto industry, 11-percent say it was because of an upturn in the economy, and 16-percent are convinced it was combination of reasons.

The survey was conducted by EPIC MRA for our statewide media partners from January 21 – 25, 2012 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4-percent.


Now, I would like to read the names of several political figures. For each one, please tell me if you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of that person. If you do not recognize a name, please tell me and we can move on.

Rick Snyder
January 2012

  • Favorable – 46%
  • Unfavorable – 40%
  • Undecided – 13%

November 2011

  • Favorable – 39%
  • Unfavorable – 44%
  • Undecided – 16%

October 2011

  • Favorable – 43%
  • Unfavorable – 42%
  • Undecided – 14%

Overall, how would you rate the job Rick Snyder has done as Michigan's Governor – would you give him a positive rating of excellent or pretty good, or a negative rating of just fair or poor?

January 2012

  • Positive – 41%
  • Negative – 54%
  • Undecided – 5%

November 2011

  • Positive – 37%
  • Negative – 59%
  • Undecided – 4%

October 2011

  • Positive – 36%
  • Negative – 59%
  • Undecided – 5%

September 2011

  • Positive – 36%
  • Negative – 59%
  • Undecided – 5%

August 2011

  • Positive – 37%
  • Negative – 54%
  • Undecided – 9%

Would you favor or oppose an increase in state taxes, such as an increase in the gas tax, an increase in vehicle registration fees, or both, if the money is earmarked to fund improvements to Michigan roads and bridges?

  • Favor – 36%
  • Oppose – 58%
  • Undecided – 6%

Thinking about the first year of Governor Snyder's Administration, based on your opinion of the policies he proposed or supported, would you say that because of his policies Michigan is a better place to live than a year ago, a worse place to live, or, would you say that his policies haven't made a difference one way or the other?

  • Better – 31%
  • Hasn't made a difference – 44%
  • Worse – 23%
  • Undecided – 2%

Michigan unemployment rate dropped last month to 9.3 percent, which is the lowest level since September of 2008. Which of the following individuals or factors have had the greatest impact on a major drop in unemployment?

  • People dropping out of the job market or leaving Michigan – 31%
  • A rebounding auto industry – 23%
  • A general upturn in the economy – 11%
  • Governor Snyder – 6%
  • President Obama – 6%
  • Former Governor Granholm – 3%
  • A combination of reasons – 16%
  • Undecided/Refused = 4%

Thinking about the overall impact of replacing the Michigan Business Tax with a corporate income tax, do you believe this change in business taxes will have a positive impact on the Michigan economy and create new jobs, do you think it will have a negative impact on the Michigan economy, or, do you think it will not have an impact one way or the other?

  • Positive – 31%
  • No impact at all – 32%
  • Negative – 14%
  • Undecided – 23%
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