LANSING, Mich. — The Small Business Association of Michigan is the “most trusted business organization to help improve Michigan’s economy,” according to a recent survey of southeast Michigan voters.
The poll found that 22 percent of respondents gave the edge to SBAM over organizations with higher profiles. Trailing SBAM were the Michigan Chamber of Commerce (at 13 percent), the Michigan Manufacturers Association (11 percent), Business Leaders for Michigan (nine percent), the Detroit Economic Club (at five percent), the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce (three percent) and Inforum (two percent).
SBAM is a 43-year-old advocacy groups that seeks to knock down regulatory, economic, legal and legislative barriers to small business development. It’s estimated that Michigan has 815,000 small businesses that employ the overwhelming majority of the state’s workers.
“While the Chamber of Commerce is deep in tradition and enjoys strong familiarity among voters, the drumbeat message of small businesses as ‘the engine of Michigan’s economy’ seems to have taken root,” said Dennis Denno, President of Denno Noor Research. “Clearly, with the economic struggles and huge job losses our manufacturing sector has endured over the last several years in particular, voters are seeing Michigan’s small businesses as being critical, perhaps even most critical, to Michigan’s present and future economy.”
This special Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce Mackinac Policy Conference edition of the Quarterly Poll was conducted by Denno Noor Research for The Rossman Group and The Perricone Group. It surveyed 600 Macomb, Oakland and Wayne County voters from May 22 to May 24.
According to the poll, voters seem open to a discussion over a plan to reduce the state’s sales tax levy and expand the tax to currently excluded services with an eye toward raising more than $500 million in new revenue. The survey found 45 percent of voters supported the idea while slightly less – 41 percent – were opposed. The question was worded as follows: “Governor Jennifer proposed a tax restructuring plan that includes lowering Michigan’s six percent sales tax to five and a half percent and extending it to consumer services – a proposal designed to provide more revenue for schools and provide businesses with tax relief.”
Granholm would extend the restructured sales tax to virtually all consumer services with exclusions for health care and social assistance, education, new construction, real estate and insurance commissions and services directly connected to business operations.
“There seems to be a greater willingness to discuss whether Michigan’s tax structure has grown obsolete,” said Chuck Perricone, CEO of The Perricone Group. “The structure was developed when manufacturing was 'King' in Michigan. But Michigan is rapidly transitioning into a service economy.”
The poll also found voters split over whether Michigan’s 1963 Constitution is in need of an overhaul, with 38 percent in favor, 40 percent opposed and 22 percent undecided. The question, which will appear on the November ballot, is automatically placed before voters every 16 years. Voters easily rejected so called “Con-Con” proposals in 1978 and 1994.
“Voters appear leery of the cost of a convention, estimated at around $30 million, but more importantly they have legitimate fears that in these polarized times a convention is a crap shoot,” said Kelly Rossman-McKinney, founder and CEO of The Rossman Group. “A convention could consider all the hot-button political issues including gay and abortion rights, affirmative action, the death penalty, term limits, same-sex marriage and physician-assisted suicide. Whether you sit on the right or the left, the potential outcomes of those debates are scary. ”
The survey also found:
•Voters are having difficulty buying into the proposition that Michigan’s economy is turning around. Only 40 percent agreed with this statement, while 53 percent disagreed. Voters in the city of Detroit (at 44 percent) and in the balance of Wayne County (45 percent) were most likely to agree that Michigan’s economy is showing improvement, while Macomb County voters (at 34 percent) were least likely to agree.
•Voters are not ready to embrace consolidation of local governments as a solution to the state’s budget problems. Only 38 percent of respondents supported consolidation (nine percent “strongly support”), while 48 percent were opposed (30 percent “very opposed”).
Methodology: This survey was part of the Rossman Group/Perricone Group/Denno Noor Polling Quarterly Survey of the Michigan electorate. 600 respondents in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne Counties were surveyed between May 22 through May 24, 2010, with a margin of error of plus/minus 4%, and the participation was stratified based on census data and past voter behavior. A screen was employed to include only those participants who said they would vote, either at the polls or by absentee ballot, in the November 2010 General Election. All numbers are rounded and may exceed 100%.
Attribution: For attribution purposes, please recognize all three organizations that partnered in the poll: The Rossman Group, Denno-Noor Research and The Perricone Group.
Contact: Kelly Rossman-McKinney Cell:517-749-0529 Dennis Denno, Denno-Noor Research President Cell: 517-402-2453 Chuck Perricone, Perricone Group President Cell: 269 758-3480 Mark Pischea, The Rossman Group President 517-927-1089