The Metro: New Outlier Media survey offers insights on turnout, priorities for Detroit voters

The survey showed that while Detroit residents plan to turn out in this upcoming presidential election, they don’t feel heard by their local officials.

A mural in Detroit urging people to "vote" by local muralist Ndubisi Okoye.

A mural in Detroit urging people to "vote" by local muralist Ndubisi Okoye.

Outlier Media has commissioned the Detroit Metro Area Communities Study (DMACS) — a project of the University of Michigan — to survey over 1,000 Detroiters about their reasons for voting and priority issues this election season.

Sarah Alvarez, founder and editor-in-chief of Outlier Media, joined The Metro on Friday to discuss the results of the survey, which obtained insights about civic engagement, voting behavior and the key issues animating residents — both locally and nationally. Alvarez says many survey respondents felt they were not being heard by their elected officials, and as a result, are hanging back from the ballot box. 

Detroiters typically turn out to vote in high numbers in presidential elections. Alvarez said. In the 2020 election, about half of registered voters in the 2020 election cast a ballot, Outlier reports, while turnout dropped to 34% in the following election in 2022. 

According to the survey, 70% of respondents said they were planning to vote in the upcoming presidential election, and 82% are registered to vote. While its true voter turnout in local elections is typically much lower, Alvarez notes that voter registration numbers are usually inflated.

“Since the ’90s, there has been a lot that keeps local officials from purging voter rolls — It’s a voter protection mechanism,” she said.  “So right now we have 513,000 registered voters in the city of Detroit, and that is higher than our adult population. So when you see a number, like 50% of registered voters have turned out, that’s high, that really does mean like about 65%, or 70% of the people who are registered to vote are really turning out.”

Use the media player above to hear the full interview with Alvarez.

More headlines from The Metro on June 21st:

  • A recent University of Michigan study found that about half of renters in Michigan are cost-burdened and that about a quarter are severely cost-burdened. Why is this the case? And what can our state and cities do to alleviate the issue? Roshanak Mehdipanah, one of the study’s authors and director of the Housing Solutions For Health Equity initiative at U-M, joined The Metro to discuss her findings.
  • This Pride month, Mighty Real Queer Detroit continues with exhibits displaying the works of LGBTQ+ artists from Detroit and beyond. This weekend, The Carr Center at the Park Shelton will welcome poet, writer, visual artist and performer Pamela Sneed with a performance honoring legendary singer-songwriter Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton. Pamela Sneed and The Carr Center President Oliver Ragsdale Jr. joined the show to talk about the upcoming performance.

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