Fix Detroit’s Schools, but we won’t hold our breath.

Pundits weigh in… Mackinac style

Wednesday, June 1, 2016 – Mackinac Island, MI – The ferries are ferrying. The drinks are flowing.  The Porch is being walked and talked.  People are complaining/raving about the weather.  The 2016 Detroit Regional Chamber Mackinac Policy Conference is underway.  In honor of this political rite of spring in Michigan, the Pundit Poll looked to identify pundits’ top priorities for Detroit, and gauge the optimism around turning those priorities into realities.

The 100-plus political insiders who make up the Pundit Poll roster were asked:  By this time next year, at the 2017 Mackinac Policy Conference, the single most important thing state and local leaders need to accomplish in order to better position the City of Detroit for success is: 1) Fix Detroit Public Schools, 2) Address neighborhood blight, 3) Improve safety and reduce violent crime, 4) Expand public transportation, 5) Maintain fiscal discipline with the city’s finances, and 6) Attract investment and development to downtown.

With an overwhelming 55 percent of the vote, Michigan’s political insiders said Detroit’s public schools must be fixed.  17 percent believe maintaining fiscal discipline should be tops, followed by reducing crime (9 percent), reducing blight (6 percent), expanding public transportation (5 percent) and bringing investment to downtown (3 percent).

“It’s on the news, in the paper and all the talk of the Capitol, City Hall, and – this week – the island, something needs to be done to fix Detroit’s public schools,” Dennis Denno, President of Denno Research, said.

This being said, and with nearly 80 percent of insiders saying the City of Detroit is heading in the right direction, nearly 60 percent of respondents had little faith their top priority would be accomplished.

The Pundit Poll asked and had answered:  Whatever your answer to question number one, by this time next year, at the 2017 Mackinac Policy Conference, how confident are you that state and local leaders will accomplish the priority you think is important for Detroit’s success: 1) Very confident came in at only 5 percent, 2) Somewhat hopeful, 34 percent, 3) Doubtful, 46 percent, and 4) No chance with 12 percent.

“There is a very interesting disconnect between the growing optimism people feel in the overall direction of the city and their lack of confidence in state and local leaders’ ability to tackle the tough problems the city still faces,” said Matt Resch, President of Resch Strategies.

The Pundit Poll is a new survey on the latest political news and issues in Michigan. The survey uses emails to collect the compiled and confidential responses from political strategists, consultants, and insiders across Michigan, with the goal of offering an insider’s look at the political issues facing the state. A full list of the nearly 100 pundits in the poll can be found at: 

Little Nuggets of Interesting (#LNOI)

Within every poll result are interesting little items to note.  Like:

•    There is bipartisan agreement that fixing Detroit Public Schools is a top priority; 60 percent of Democrats agreed and 53 percent of Republicans agreed.  

•    No Republicans thought addressing blight should be a priority, and no Democrats thought that maintaining fiscal discipline was a priority. 

•    The Grand Hotel Porch edged out any “Mackinac Island Bar” for the title of “Best Place on the Island to Get Work Done While on the Island” with 25 percent of the vote of those people who preference wasn’t to just stay home.

•    5 percent of Democrats found a Mackinac Island bar would be the most productive, while 26 percent of Republicans found a bar to be most productive.  Hmmm….

This was a Resch Strategies/Denno Research survey of Michigan political experts, pundits, and members of the media. 100 respondents were invited and 72 responded. The survey was emailed Wednesday, May 25 and the survey was Tuesday May 31, 2016.