MSU Survey: MI residents say roads are bigger problem than education

EAST LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – It’s no secret that many of Michigan’s roads are deteriorating as lawmakers struggle to come up with a way to pay for repairs.

Now the spring State of the State Survey from Michigan State University finds that residents, for the first time ever, are more concerned about the condition of the roads than education.

The survey was conducted in the weeks prior to voters deciding on a plan to raise $1.2 billion to fund road repairs. That proposal was soundly defeated.

Charles Ballard, survey director and MSU professor of economics says he’d be surprised if “such a large number of people continue to say that roads are one of the top issues next year, but that depends partly on whether the Legislature can pass a road-funding package.”

Once a year the survey asks voters to list the most important issues facing the governor and Legislature. Since 2003 jobs/economy has topped the list and education quality/finances landed in second place.

Here’s are the top three concerns:

1) Jobs/economy: 32 percent of respondents cited it as the top problem in 2015, down from 49 percent in 2014.
2) Roads/highways/bridges: 20 percent cited it as the top problem in 2015, up from just 4 percent in 2014.
3) Education quality/finances: 15 percent cited it as the top problem in 2015, down from 17 percent in 2014.

The survey went on to ask how often voters can trust local government. 41 percent of the voters said they trust local government “nearly all or most of the time”. That trust figure dropped to 20 percent for state government and 16 percent for federal government.

Gov. Rick Snyder’s approval ratings dipped a bit in the spring. 36 percent of the voters asked rated Snyder’s performance as “excellent” or “good,” which is down from 38 percent from the last survey in fall 2014.

At the federal level President Barack Obama’s approval ratings in Michigan improved to 40 percent from 35 percent in the last survey. Ballard said one reason could be that President Obama is “telegenic” and connects with people on an emotional level.

More online: Spring State of the State Survey

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