Poll Suggests Strong Turnout for May 5 Ballot Proposal

79 percent of respondents say they know how they’ll vote

For Immediate Release
Friday, April 10, 2015

Anne Schieber
Senior Investigative Analyst

MIDLAND — Proposal 1 has gained interest among voters, and turnout for the May 5 statewide election that will decide its fate might not be robust, but it will be substantial. That’s the finding of a poll commissioned by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy and conducted April 1, 2, and 4, approximately one month before election day.

“Traditionally, when a statewide election is held on a nontraditional date — such as May 5 — voter turnout goes down significantly, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here,“ said Dan Armstrong, director of marketing and communications at the Mackinac Center.

Mackinac Center Assistant Director of Fiscal Policy James Hohman analyzed Proposal 1 of 2015 and found that it would raise $2 billion by increasing Michigan’s sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent. It would also create a new and higher gas tax and raise vehicle registration fees, in addition to other things. Hohman’s study can be found here.

“I’ve previously stated that I expect about 1.8 million voters in May. That number might prove optimistic, but I think these results are broadly consistent with a turnout in the range of 1.2 to 2.0 million,” said Mark Grebner, president of Practical Political Consulting, which conducted the poll. “Of those polled, 79 percent said they knew how they planned to vote on the proposal. When you have that kind of high percentage of voters who have already taken a position a month before an election, there’s nothing stealthy about what’s happening.”

The poll consisted of computer-generated phone calls placed to the landline phone numbers of 4,000 likely voters randomly drawn from the 2.5 million registered voters most likely to vote in non-presidential elections. Grebner said the response rate was actually higher than that recorded for a PPC poll in October 2014 just prior to the November election.

However, he also added that the lower respondent rate in the October 2014 poll probably reflected voter burnout resulting from political oversaturation.

Those who responded to the calls were asked the following:

On May 5 there will be a vote to raise the sales tax, among other things, with the money going mainly to fix the roads.

Press 1 if you already know how you’ll vote.

Press 2 if you’re still gathering information.

Press 3 if you don’t plan to vote.

Nearly four out of five of the respondents (79 percent) said they had already made up their minds, 16 percent said they were continuing to gather information, and only 5 percent said they didn’t intend to vote. In drawing his conclusions from the data, Grebner made adjustments for the poll’s natural bias toward the more politically engaged and for the advanced average age of those with landline phones.


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