Survey: Michigan voters favor Whitmer while many believe COVID threat is being downplayed

Detroit Regional Chamber releases results from statewide survey on pandemic, economy, government

In this photo provided by the Michigan Office of the Governor, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks during a news conference in Lansing, Mich., Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020. Whitmer, whose health department has prohibited indoor restaurant dining and closed various entertainment venues to limit the spread of the virus, announced that those businesses can postpone by a month their monthly sales, use and tax withholding payments that are due Dec. 20.  (Michigan Office of the Governor via AP)
In this photo provided by the Michigan Office of the Governor, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks during a news conference in Lansing, Mich., Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020. Whitmer, whose health department has prohibited indoor restaurant dining and closed various entertainment venues to limit the spread of the virus, announced that those businesses can postpone by a month their monthly sales, use and tax withholding payments that are due Dec. 20. (Michigan Office of the Governor via AP)

Results from a survey of Michigan voters at the beginning of December suggest there are many residents in the state who are concerned the COVID-19 pandemic has been downplayed.

The survey also suggests strong support for Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer -- 63.3% of Michigan voters believe Whitmer is aggressively working on getting the pandemic under control and protecting public health, according to the survey results.

The Detroit Regional Chamber (DRC) said it conducted this statewide survey of 600 registered Michigan voters between Nov. 30 and Dec. 4, 2020.

The DRC said in a news release Monday that “the poll results show remarkable stability in how seriously Michiganders are taking the virus and how concerned they remain about the economic consequences of prolonged shutdowns.”

View the DRC’s similar survey results from April right here.

Here are some key findings (per DRC):

On the pandemic as a public health threat:

  • A majority of Michigan voters believe the pandemic situation is worse in Michigan than in April -- 82.7% of Michigan residents believe the situation is the same or worse than April.
  • 60.3% believe the threat of COVID-19 has been balanced or downplayed, compared to 33.8% who believe the threat has been exaggerated. Those numbers remain virtually unchanged from May when 58.8% believed the threat of COVID-19 has been balanced or downplayed, compared to 32.2% who believed the threat has been exaggerated.
  • 83.8% of Michigan voters say that getting the pandemic under control would help Michigan’s economy.

On the economy:

  • 83.7% of Michigan voters believe the state’s economy is worse now than before the pandemic hit.
  • 58% of Michigan voters say that COVID-19 is affecting their household finances.
  • The most significant impact continues to be on voters under the age of 40 years old. For voters 18-29, 34.1% said the impact was catastrophic or major. For voters 30-39, 32.8% said the impact was catastrophic or major.
  • 45.8% said the economy was worse because elected officials kept shutting down businesses.
  • 39.6% said the economy was worse because we cannot get the virus under control.

On Gov. Gretchen Whitmer:

  • 63.3% of Michigan voters believe Gov. Whitmer is aggressively working on getting the pandemic under control and protecting public health. These favorable numbers for the governor are virtually the same as they were in May.
  • 27.0% of voters believe she is not doing everything. More than half of the individuals who said the Governor was not doing everything said it was because she should open businesses or do nothing.
  • One-third of Republican voters believe Gov. Whitmer is doing everything she can to get the pandemic under control. Republican opposition of out-state voters drives the differences by region.

On Michigan Legislature:

  • 29.0% of Michigan voters say the state’s legislative leaders are doing everything they can to get the pandemic under control. 46.5% of voters say they are not doing everything they can do.
  • The 46.5% of voters that said legislative leaders were not doing everything they could do were asked what they should be doing:
    • 40.9% said they should work and compromise with the Governor.
    • 11.1% said they should listen to scientists and health officials.
    • 8.6% said they should work on financial help.
    • 8.2% said they should enforce restrictions like masks and social distancing.

View the full survey results here:


Coronavirus resources:



About the Author:

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.