Michigan Public Policy Survey of Local Government Leaders on COVID-19 (Spring 2020)

Resource Type
Dataset : survey data
  • Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy
Publication Date
Free Keywords
townships; cities; villages; counties; local government; covid-19; coronavirus
  • Abstract

    The Michigan Public Policy Survey (MPPS) is a program of state-wide surveys of local government leaders in Michigan. The MPPS is designed to fill an important information gap in the policymaking process. While there are ongoing surveys of the business community and of the citizens of Michigan, before the MPPS there were no ongoing surveys of local government officials that were representative of all general purpose local governments in the state. Therefore, while we knew the policy priorities and views of the state's businesses and citizens, we knew very little about the views of the local officials who are so important to the economies and community life throughout Michigan.

    The MPPS was launched in 2009 by the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy (CLOSUP) at the University of Michigan and is conducted in partnership with the Michigan Association of Counties, Michigan Municipal League, and Michigan Townships Association. The associations provide CLOSUP with contact information for the survey's respondents, and consult on survey topics. CLOSUP makes all decisions on survey design, data analysis, and reporting, and receives no funding support from the associations.

    The surveys investigate local officials' opinions and perspectives on a variety of important public policy issues and solicit factual information about their localities relevant to policymaking. Over time, the program has covered issues such as fiscal, budgetary and operational policy, fiscal health, public sector compensation, workforce development, local-state governmental relations, intergovernmental collaboration, economic development strategies and initiatives such as placemaking and economic gardening, the role of local government in environmental sustainability, energy topics, trust in government, views on state policymaker performance, and more. The program will investigate many other issues relevant to local and state policy in the future.

    The Spring 2020 MPPS wave asked Michigan's local government leaders about the expected impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in their communities, how effectively various governments are coordinating efforts, what kinds of resources they need, how long they expect various impacts to last, and more. Additional questions on local government fiscal health, election administration, the 2020 U.S. Census, views on state policymaker performance, and more, were also asked. Responses to these questions will be available in a separate data collection available in 2021.
  • Weighting

    Weights have been removed to prevent dataset linkages and protect respondent confidentiality. However, because the response rate is so high (72%) this should not significantly affect analysis.
  • Methods

    Response Rates: 72% by jurisdiction
  • Methods

    Presence of Common Scales: Several Likert-type scales are included.
Temporal Coverage
  • 2020-03-30 / 2020-06-01
    Collection Date(s): Mon Mar 30 00:00:00 EDT 2020--Mon Jun 01 00:00:00 EDT 2020 (Spring 2020)
Geographic Coverage
  • Michigan
Sampled Universe
Top elected and appointed officials from Michigan counties, cities, villages, and townships.
Census survey of all 1,856 Michigan counties, cities, villages, and townships.  Top elected and appointed officials in each jurisdiction were surveyed.  One response from each responding jurisdiction is included. If two responses are received from the same jurisdiction, the criteria for inclusion in the data set are based on [in order]: completeness of the survey, if the official is appointed (rather than elected), or if the respondent is the top elected official.
Collection Mode
  • mail questionnaire; web-based survey;

    The Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy is releasing this dataset out of a commitment to promoting public knowledge of Michigan local governance. However, we also want to respect the anonymity of the government officials surveyed in this study, without whose trust we would not be able to create this dataset.   In order to protect respondent confidentiality, we have divided the data collected in the Spring 2020 Michigan Public Policy Survey into separate datasets focused on different topics that were covered in the survey. Each dataset contains only variables relevant to that subject, and the datasets cannot be linked together.   While the main identifiers of jurisdictions in our reports and online data tables are jurisdiction type and population size, we have opted to create a single variable representing population density as a consolidated proxy for jurisdictions. Other variables that are too identifying have been removed from the datasets. Where possible, we have created summary variables to provide users of the dataset with as much information as possible. Respondent demographics variables have been removed. Because weights could be used to link the datasets together, they have been removed. However, because the response rate is so high (72% of jurisdictions participated in Spring 2020) this should not significantly affect analysis.  As of 11/2020, only the data on COVID-19 are available from the Spring 2020 survey, but additional datasets on other topics covered in the Spring 2020 survey will be available on openICPSR at a later date.

    We hope you find this dataset useful for your purposes, however, if you are looking for a more extensive release, we encourage you to keep an eye out for our more complete restricted-use dataset which will also be available through openICPSR in 2021.  As indicated on our website, the restricted-use dataset available to researchers is stripped of identifying variables such as respondent names and jurisdiction names and ID codes. However, most data remain in the dataset, including non-response weights, characteristics such as jurisdiction type (county, city, township, village), respondent position (mayor, city manager, etc.), region of the state, the jurisdiction's population size, and anonymized jurisdiction ID variables that allow datasets from multiple waves of the MPPS to be linked together for longitudinal analysis. Data tables showing responses to each survey question, broken down by jurisdiction type, population size, and geographic region are also available on our website.

This study is freely available to the general public via web download.
  • Is version of
    DOI: 10.3886/E127041
  • Horner, Debra, Thomas M. Ivacko, and Natalie Fitzpatrick. “The Initial Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Michigan Communities and Local Governments.” SSRN Electronic Journal, 2020. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3636436.
    • ID: 10.2139/ssrn.3636436 (DOI)

Update Metadata: 2020-11-30 | Issue Number: 1 | Registration Date: 2020-11-30