Large Majority of Republican, Independent Voters Object to Gov. Snyder’s Detroit Bailout Plan, According to New Polling Numbers

For Immediate Release
April 14, 2014
Ted O'Neil
Media Relations Manager

MIDLAND — Almost half of likely Michigan general election voters — 49 percent — oppose Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposal to use $350 million of state money to bail out Detroit, according to a new public opinion poll commissioned by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

The poll was conducted April 9, 2014, by Mitchell Research & Communications and included 1,460 respondents, 93 percent of whom said they were “definitely” voting this November. The poll has a +/- 2.56 percent margin of error. By a 55-38 margin, Republican or Republican leaning voters said they are opposed to Gov. Snyder’s Detroit bailout. That was mirrored by Independents, who are opposed by a 54-39 margin.

“These numbers should make Gov. Snyder and the Legislature sit up and take notice,” said Michael LaFaive, director of the Center’s Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative. “People do not support such a massive use of state dollars being funneled to Detroit when that money could be used to benefit residents statewide, such as fixing potholes.”

Gov. Snyder’s plan would send $350 million, or $17.5 million a year for 20 years, to Detroit.

“MDOT has estimated that it takes $20 to fix a pothole,” LaFaive said. “That means 875,000 potholes a year could be fixed with that money.”

Of the respondents who object to the bailout, 25 percent said they “oppose” the plan and 24 percent said they “strongly oppose” it. Some 35 percent of those against the plan identified themselves as Democratic voters or said they lean Democratic. Overall, 38 percent of respondents said they were Democratic voters, 36 percent said they were Republican voters and 19 percent said they were Independents.

“Bailing out the Motor City with state money is fundamentally unfair and will only encourage more bad behavior from Detroit and perhaps other Michigan municipalities,” LaFaive said. “This might have other cities holding their collective hand out. Where will it end?”

 Some 44 percent of respondents support the bailout, with 56 percent of those identifying themselves as Democrat voters. Only 38 percent of Republicans and 39 percent of Independents support the plan.

The breakdown of respondents by geographic area is as follows: Detroit, 4 percent; Wayne County other than Detroit, 12 percent; Oakland County, 12 percent, Macomb County, 9 percent; Flint, Saginaw, Bay City and the Thumb area, 12 percent; Monroe, Washtenaw, Ingham and Jackson counties, 19 percent, West Michigan, 22 percent, Northern Michigan/U.P., 11 percent.

“The vast majority of Michigan residents never voted for the political leadership that helped bankrupt Detroit,” LaFaive said. “It makes sense that they feel no compunction to see their money go to the city.

 “Ultimately, Detroit should bail itself out with more aggressive reforms, which we’ve been suggesting since 2000,” LaFaive added. “The city could sell more assets, reduce or end unnecessary services and contract out for the services it wishes to keep. The general fund budget in Pontiac has been reduced by 43.5 percent. A similar reduction in Detroit would provide a lot of financial breathing room. A bailout will not solve Detroit’s long-term problems and future borrowing may come with big premiums.”

# # # # #