18 Mar On Detroit – Michigan Voters Favor Using $350 Million in State Funds To Save DIA Art, Lessen Pension Cuts
Statewide LE&A/Denno Research survey suggests voters support Snyder plan for state to play a role in resolving Detroit bankruptcy
Lansing, Mich. – March 14, 2014 – More than half of Michigan voters support Gov. Rick Snyder’s plan to invest $350 million in state funds to help Detroit work its way out of bankruptcy by protecting the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) from having to sell any of its art collection and softening pension cuts, according to a statewide poll released today by Lambert, Edwards & Associates (LE&A), Michigan’s largest bipartisan public relations firm.
Sixty-one percent of the 600 likely voters polled statewide said they backed Snyder’s proposal to offer the funds so that Detroit pension cuts wouldn’t exceed 34 percent. A quarter of those polled opposed the move, while nearly 14 percent were undecided.
The same LE&A/Denno Research poll asked voters if they would support offering the state funds as part of a deal that would protect the DIA from having to sell any of its art collection. Slightly fewer voters backed that plan, with 53 percent favoring spending the money and 30 percent opposing it. Seventeen percent were undecided. The poll was conducted March 8-9 and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
“The poll clearly shows that most Michiganders want to see Michigan’s largest city improve and thrive,” said Jeff Lambert, president and managing partner at Lambert, Edwards & Associates. “It makes sense that voters across the state, not just Detroiters, want to protect the city’s pensions and the DIA’s world-class art collection.”
Snyder so far has failed to persuade a majority of his fellow Republicans in the Michigan House and Senate to support tapping the state’s tobacco settlement money for the next 20 years to make the $350 million available. Private foundations have pledged $330 million to keep pension cuts from surpassing 34 percent, and the state funds would essentially match those donations. The state won’t provide the money if the city, state, unions, employees and retirees don’t reach a settlement that will allow Detroit to emerge from bankruptcy. City employee unions and retirees have said the pension cuts are too deep and could fight them in court.
Yet despite some lawmakers’ opposition, the poll indicates that a majority of Michigan voters agree with the governor that contributing the $350 million is the right thing to do.
“By more than a two-to-one margin, voters statewide chose to protect Detroit retiree pensions, while over half want to protect the DIA’s art collection,” said Dennis Denno, president of Denno Research. “Those results should help the governor persuade lawmakers that this is a winning proposition not only for Detroit, but for all of Michigan.”
About Lambert, Edwards & Associates
Named the 2010 PRWeek Small Agency of the Year, LE&A (www.lambert-edwards.com) is a top-10 Midwest-based PR firm and a top-20 investor relations firm nationally with clients based in 20 states and five countries. As Michigan’s only statewide PR firm – with offices in Grand Rapids, Lansing and Detroit – LE&A serves middle-market companies and national brands in five practice areas: Automotive, Consumer, Financial Communications, Health Care and Public Affairs. LE&A has posted 14 years of growth, been named an Edward Lowe “Michigan 50 Companies to Watch” and earned four Silver Anvil awards – the PR profession’s highest honor. Follow us on Twitter @LambertEdwards.
About Denno Research
The staff of Denno Research (www.dennoresearch.com) brings more than 20 years of experience in polling to their full-service public opinion company in Michigan. They offer experience in polling for political campaigns, corporations, associations and non-profit organizations, and have worked with clients in Michigan, Indiana, New York, North Carolina and New Jersey. They have been in business since 2004 and have conducted quarterly, statewide surveys to measure voters’ opinions since 2006.
About the Poll
This survey was part of an LE&A/Denno Research Periodic Survey of the Michigan electorate. Six hundred likely voters statewide were surveyed by telephone March 8-9. The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. Twenty percent of those polled were contacted on cell phones. All numbers are rounded and may exceed 100 percent.