University of Michigan Gateway Ford School

The Michigan Public Policy Survey


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 such as hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") and wind power, trust in government, views on state policymaker performance, opinions on the impacts of the Federal Stimulus Program (ARRA), and more. The program will investigate many other issues relevant to local and state policy in the future.

How often does the MPPS take place?
The MPPS is conducted twice per year, once in spring and once in fall. Spring surveys contain several batteries of "core" fiscal, budgetary, and operational policy questions that get asked each year, thereby building up a time-series of data on fundamental issues and allowing tracking of change and continuity over time. Fall surveys target specific unique topics such as workforce development, intergovernmental collaboration, performance measurement and management, etc.

How is the MPPS funded?
The first two waves (and the overall startup) of the MPPS were funded by internal CLOSUP funds and a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Since then, MPPS activities have been funded solely by internal funds at CLOSUP. In the future, CLOSUP may seek additional external support from foundations or other interested organizations.

Who will use the MPPS?
The MPPS serves a wide-range of stakeholders in Michigan and elsewhere, including local and state policymakers, nonprofit organizations, foundations, citizen groups, the media and the academic research and teaching community.

"I appreciate the professional work of the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy (CLOSUP) and the information included in their public policy survey reports. The survey data is gathered, assembled, and shared logically in a manner that allows for practical application. I focus on the summary and then follow on to the detailed supporting data and illustrative charts. The survey findings and work of CLOSUP are critical tools in our policy development toolbox. We use it in our local municipality to inform, discuss, guide, and develop appropriate polices."
-Bud Norman (Administrator/Controller, Branch County, March 2015)

Access to MPPS datasets
CLOSUP is depositing MPPS datasets at ICPSR for other researchers to use. See more info.

What does the MPPS do?
The surveys:

How can you get involved?
We are eager to hear your ideas about the surveys: the key issues or questions that should be included, the general topics that should be covered, the types of analysis and reports that would be most useful. If you would like to share your input, please contact Tom Ivacko at 734-647-4091 or by email to

List the MPPS Reports


MPPS Resources

Find Questions & Topics

Data Tables

Download Datasets



Individual Survey Pages

More on the MPPS

735 South State Street, Ann Arbor, MI. 48109-3091  | 
ph: 734-647-4091  | 
© 2020 Regents of the University of Michigan      
University of Michigan Gateway Ford School Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy