MPPS Policy Brief: Local government officials give mixed reviews to Michigan’s new approach to redistricting

October 2022

This policy brief presents the opinions of Michigan local government leaders on Michigan’s new approach to electoral redistricting and the performance of the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (MICRC). These findings are based on statewide surveys of local government leaders in the spring 2022 wave of the Michigan Public Policy Survey (MPPS)— conducted between April 4 and June 6, 2022.

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Key findings

  • Statewide, 81% of local government leaders paid at least some attention to the MICRC’s work in redrawing the state’s electoral maps, while 13% paid no attention at all (or were completely unfamiliar with the MICRC).
  • Among those who paid at least some attention, 24% are satisfied with the MICRC’s process overall and 22% are dissatisfied. Meanwhile, a third (33%) are neutral—neither satisfied nor dissatisfied—and another 20% are unsure.
  • Local government leaders who paid attention to the MICRC are more likely to be critical than complementary of the Commission’s performance on a variety of elements such as public engagement opportunities, valuing public input, ensuring no unfair advantage for political parties or particular candidates, and more.
  • Back in 2010, 60% of local leaders favored the concept of an independent commission and only 11% opposed it. This year, after the redistricting process was complete and new maps had been adopted, 39% now say the MICRC is a better approach to redistricting than having the Michigan Legislature draw the lines, while 19% say it is a worse approach, and 29% say it is neither better nor worse.
  • Among local officials, preference for the MICRC over the Legislature for drawing electoral districts has become more strongly associated with partisan identification over time.
  • Comparing with data from Michigan State University’s State of the State Survey, Republican residents of Michigan are more critical of the MICRC approach than are Republican local leaders, while residents who are Independents and Democrats are more supportive of the MICRC than are Democratic local leaders.