DETROIT (Michigan News Source) – Commissioned by the Detroit Regional Chamber, a new Glengariff Group’s survey reveals that 68% of voters expressed dissatisfaction with the state of American democracy. This discontent spans the political spectrum: Republicans blame “Joe Biden and the Democrats,” Democrats point to “Donald Trump and the Republicans,” and independents cite political infighting. 

Political polarization and misinformation seem to be fueling these perceptions, creating a widening gap between reality and public sentiment.

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But that’s not all; 35% of respondents believe that force or violence is sometimes justified in a democracy. Additionally, 5% of voters think violence would be acceptable if their preferred candidate loses the 2024 election after a fair vote count, while 90% reject any justification for violence in that scenario.

Richard Czuba of the Glengariff Group, who conducted the survey for the Detroit Regional Chamber, discussed the impact of widespread misinformation with The Detroit News: “Voters no longer agree on basic facts, which undermines their ability to analyze what they see.”

Despite positive economic indicators, such as a 3.4% GDP growth and a 3.9% unemployment rate, 61% of voters feel the economy is weakening or in recession. This perception is particularly strong among Republicans, reflecting a significant gap between economic data and public sentiment. Furthermore, many voters misunderstand inflation rates, with only 28% correctly identifying it as being at or below 4% over the past year.

Higher education also faces growing skepticism, with only 22% of respondents believing a four-year college degree is worth the cost. This sentiment is stronger among Republicans (64%) and independents (49%). The high cost of tuition, averaging $11,000 annually at Michigan public universities, fuels this perception, with many comparing it unfavorably to the cost of a new car.

While 60% of voters feel they are doing as well or better economically than before the pandemic, Republicans are more likely to report economic struggles. Interestingly, 85% of respondents are not worried about job security, indicating a generally stable job market. However, a majority believe the state’s economy is on the wrong track, citing inflation and rising costs as primary concerns. 

Sandy Baruah, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber, commented on the perplexing nature of current public sentiment.

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“It’s very hard to rationalize why the level of consumer confidence in the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Survey is lower today than it was during the Great Recession of 13 years ago,” Baruah said to The Detroit News.

Conducted from May 1-5 with a margin of error of ±4 percentage points, the survey reveals a complex picture of Michigan voters’ attitudes.