New poll shows strong support for Michigan Gov. Whitmer’s handling of COVID-19 pandemic

Majority approve of gradual reopening plan

New polling data shows strong ongoing support for Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state -- but most are ready to get back to work.

DETROIT – New polling data shows strong ongoing support for Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state -- but most are ready to get back to work.

The poll, released by the Detroit Regional Chamber, shows the majority of Michiganders are taking the threat of the virus seriously - and believe the state is reopening at a good pace.

Key findings from the poll

Gov. Whitmer’s job approval remains strong

  • 63.7% approve of Gov. Whitmer’s handling of the pandemic, including 44.7% who strongly approve. 32.8% disapprove of the governor’s handling.
    • The governor’s approval level is an increase from the 57% of the Chamber’s April poll.
  • 71.7% support reopening our economy gradually in order to avoid a second wave.
  • 25.7% state that the economic damage is worse than the health damage and the economic restart needs to occur quickly.
  • 58.5% agreed that the state is opening up about right, with 7% reporting it is opening too fast, and 32.3% it is opening too slowly.
  • 66.8% believe Michigan’s response to the crisis made sense and 29.2% disagree.
  • 42.8% of Michigan voters approve of President Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, compared to 50.4% who disapprove. In April, respondents disapproved by a margin of 44%-50%.
Gov. Whitmer's handling of pandemic (WDIV)

Michigan voters support gradual reopening

Respondents were read two different statements and asked which one more closely reflected their current position on COVID-19.

  • 71.7% - “So that we do not experience a second wave of the illness, we need to reopen our economy gradually.”
  • 25.7% - “The economic damage is worse than the health damage. We need to quickly get our economy up and running again.”
Reopen economy gradually or quickly (WDIV)

How Michiganders view COVID-19 threat

  • 86.3% say COVID-19 is a threat to public health, compared to 9.8% who disagree.
  • 58.8% believe the threat of COVID-19 has been balanced or downplayed, compared to 32.2% who believe the threat has been exaggerated.
  • 55.5% are more concerned about their health, while 21.7% are more concerned about their financial situation.
Republican views on pandemic crisis. (WDIV)

Majority ready to get back to work

  • 66.1% of workers feel safe going back to work, and 32.7% of workers do not yet feel safe returning to the workplace.
    • The Chamber’s April poll indicated that 61% of respondents felt safe or somewhat safe returning to the workplace.
  • A majority, or plurality, of workers of businesses of all sizes, are comfortable going back to work.
    • Small business employees feel the most comfortable returning to their place of employment, with 83.3% for businesses employing 11 to 25 persons.
    • Metro Detroit workers feel safe returning to work by a narrower margin, 58.3% compared to the 66.1% statewide average.
Layoffs or reduced hours caused by pandemic. (WDIV)

“As the State’s ‘Stay at Home’ Executive Order slowly begins to lift, and with evidence of growing frustration with these orders from some quarters, the Chamber wanted to provide employers of all types and sizes a clearer picture of employees’ comfort returning to work and their view of the order,” said Sandy K. Baruah, President of CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber.

Methodology: The Glengariff Group, Inc. conducted a statewide survey of Michigan voters. conducted on May 12-16, 2020 and has a margin of error of +/-4.0% with a 95% level of confidence. 60.0% of respondents were contacted via landline telephone. the Detroit Regional Chamber.

View the full poll from Detroit Regional Chamber below (or here):

About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital content and audience manager for WDIV / He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013. He enjoys suffering through Lions games on Sundays in the fall.