The functioning of democracy at the local level: a compendium of findings from the Michigan Public Policy Survey of local leaders

December 2020

The Ford School’s Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy (CLOSUP) has released a new resource that summarizes Michigan local government leaders’ views on democracy and democratic governance. The findings come from the Michigan Public Policy Survey (MPPS), a program that has gathered the opinions of elected and appointed officials from all 1,856 of Michigan’s general purpose local governments over the last 12 years. During that time, various MPPS survey waves have explored a wide-ranging collection of issues related to the functioning of democracy and political participation in local governments statewide. Topics include citizen engagement, local officials’ trust in other levels of government and in their citizens, relationships and communication between the state government and its local jurisdictions, relationships between local officials themselves, and between local governments and their citizens, civil civic discourse, election administration, and more. The compendium of MPPS findings summarizes that research, and while the surveys have uncovered numerous areas of concern, the overarching picture it paints is one where local government leaders in Michigan are—generally—positive about institutions, relationships, and attitudes associated with local democratic governance.