MAY 2014

Volume 9

NO.  5-2


Report On  

Michigan Speaks 








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Report on Michigan Speaks: The citizens' agenda for the 2014 elections


The November elections are coming soon. In only six short months, Michigan will be electing a governor, lieutenant governor, state senators and representatives. With the impending election, it is important for citizens and candidates to understand the issues that are most important to the state. The Michigan Speaks report, recently published by the Center for Michigan, puts these urgent issues into the minds of everyone.


Tune in to WLBY from 8:40-9:00am tomorrow, May 13, for the Re:NEW Michigan radio show, where you will hear Hailey Zureich and Dwayne Barnes from the Center for Michigan discuss this new report.


Between the months of September 2013 and April 2014, the Center for Michigan hosted 166 Community Conversations and ran 2 telephone polls to reach over 5,500 residents throughout the state of Michigan. The goal? To find out what issues are most important to the people. And the people of Michigan have spoken. There are three major priorities that the Center for Michigan has identified based on these conversations and polls. The priorities fall into the categories of the economy, education, and quality of life.



When it comes to the economy, the people want to see more intense education and job training, as well as investments in roads, bridges, and infrastructure. In the conversations and polls alike, education and job training was rated most urgent, with percentages of 79% and 70% respectively. It is followed by investments in roads, bridges, and infrastructure with 71% urgency in conversations and 56% in polls.



Across the board, those in the conversations and polls rated college affordability as the most urgent issue for the state. 80% of conversation participants and 78% of poll participants labeled this issue as urgent. Following this are high school completion rates and improving K-12 student performance



There is only one urgent quality of life issue that was identified in these conversations and polls. 70% of conversation participants and 65% of poll participants think that we need to decrease poverty. However, this issue was not seen by citizens to be as urgent as those of economic and educational importance overall.


With only six months until election time, this information could change quite a few things. First of all, knowing what's important to other citizens could change how individuals vote. In addition, candidates can focus their campaigns on the issues highlighted here to garner support.


Finally, one positive outcome of this report shows that peoples' general feelings about Michigan are getting better, and are predicted to become even better still. When asked how they feel about Michigan now, 66% of conversation participants and 60% of poll participants felt either "good" or "great" about the state. Compared to four years ago, 50% of conversation participants and 39% of poll participants feel that Michigan is either "slightly better" or "much better". As for predictions, 63% of conversation participants and 55% of poll participants feel that Michigan will be either "slightly better" or "much better"  Things seem to be looking up for the Great Lakes State.


Haley Garner  








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