LANSING – By large majorities, Michigan voters say the state’s alcohol regulations strike the right balance that allows adult consumers to have access to a wide range of beer and wine products – while pricing them affordably, according to a new bipartisan poll released today. The poll by Public Opinion Strategies and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research also showed that large majorities of Michigan voters oppose practices that would make alcohol more readily available, including selling alcohol at more gas stations and at farmers’ markets.
“Voters are clearly saying adults in their communities can already find a wide variety of beer, wine and liquor, and that they believe beer and wine in Michigan are priced fairly compared with other states,” said Lori Weigel, partner at Public Opinion Strategies, a nationally renowned Republican polling firm. “Our findings show voters like the system as it is and oppose making alcohol more available. To voters from all political and social backgrounds, Michigan’s current alcohol system works.
” The poll found that 69 percent of voters say the number of places to buy or drink alcohol is “about right” in Michigan, with the highest satisfaction about availability among voters in West Michigan, at 76 percent. And 90 percent of voters say they have access to a wide variety of beer, wine, and liquor, with 62 percent saying beer and wine are affordably priced in Michigan.
At the same time, voters also said they were concerned about over-expansion of alcohol products:
73 percent said beer and wine should NOT be more readily available for purchase in places like gas stations and farmers’ markets, including 75 percent of Republicans, 74 percent of Democrats and 69 percent of independents;
75 percent said beer and liquor should NOT be available for purchase on the Internet, including 79 percent of Republicans and Democrats;
60 percent said beer and wine should NOT be delivered by a service that brings the product directly to homes or offices; and
63 percent said it is more important to ensure Michigan has strong safeguards on the sale of alcohol to ensure public safety than it is to streamline regulations for small businesses.
Reflecting public concerns about alcohol and safety, majorities of voters said reducing drunken driving (71 percent), reducing underage and binge drinking (57 percent), and protecting health and public safety (55 percent) should be the Top Three priorities for policymakers when they weigh alcohol policies. In comparison, only 17 percent of voters said expanding consumer choice should be the top priority, while 14 percent said reducing prices for beer and wine was.
“Our poll shows that large majorities of voters understand alcohol is not like other consumer products and needs a different set of rules and stronger regulations,” said Al Quinlan, president of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, a nationally renowned Democratic polling firm. “Voters have a high level of satisfaction with the availability, access, price and choice of alcohol – and they have little appetite for expanding the means for purchasing alcohol or changing the current system. Across all demographics, voters say safety and public health continue to play a critical role in their views toward Michigan’s alcohol system, and are more important than expanding choice or reducing prices.
” The poll was conducted about one year after Michigan began implementing wide-ranging reforms to the state’s alcohol regulations.
The results of this poll reflect continued voter support for Michigan’s alcohol regulations and safeguards. A 2012 bipartisan poll by Public Opinion Strategies and GQRR found that 63 percent of voters say Michigan’s alcohol regulations are “about right” – an identical percentage in 2015.
The 2012 and 2015 polls were commissioned by the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association.
Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and Public Opinion Strategies conducted the statewide survey of 500 likely voters March 25-March 29. Interviews were distributed proportionally by region, and the sample is demographically representative of Michigan’s electorate during a presidential year election, with 36 percent of respondents reached by cell phone. The margin of error is +/- 4.4 percentage points.