Results from a poll commissioned by the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association (MBWWA) show most respondents are just fine with how much alcohol they can they get their hands on in Michigan right now.
The poll, conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and Public Opinion Strategies, is a follow-up to a similar 2012 poll that sampled voters’ thoughts and feelings about state alcohol regulations.
The polling firms interviewed 500 likely November 2016 voters between March 25 and 29. The margin of error was 4.4 percent and 36 percent of responses came from cell phones.
On a press call today, the pollsters said the results show most voters are OK with how the state regulates alcohol and seemed reluctant to expand alcohol choices. They also said the responses were consistent across partisan and geographic divides.
“Voters are pretty darn happy with how things are now,” said Lori Weigel, a partner at Public Opinion Strategies. “They feel like they have plenty of availability, they reject opening this up to more outlets, no matter what type they are, and that’s in large part because they just think alcohol ought to be treated differently than other products.”
Exactly 69 percent of respondents said they believe the amount of places to buy or drink alcohol in Michigan is “about right.” There were 28 percent of people who thought there were too many places to buy or drink alcohol, according to data shared on the press call and in a press release today.
The full poll results, with questions asked and cross tabs, was requested by MIRS but not provided by deadline today.
There were 90 percent of respondents that said there are a wide variety of places to find beer, wine and liquor. And 62 percent said beer and wine are “affordably priced” in the state, compared to other states.
The poll also asked respondents about a number of ideas that would essentially expand choices to buy alcohol in Michigan. According to the results, a majority usually shot down creating more avenues of access to alcohol.
There were 73 percent that said beer and wine should not be “readily available” for purchase in gas stations and farmers’ markets.
There is a bill floating in the Legislature to expand alcohol sales at gas stations, by lowering the minimum inventory amount gas stations have to keep on their premises to keep a liquor license.
A lower minimum inventory would open up more gas stations to acquire a liquor license, given the minimum inventory amount cannot include gasoline sales and alcohol.
That bill is HB 4050, sponsored by Rep. Ken Yonker (R-Caledonia), and it appears to go farther than the minimum inventory proposed in a similar bill last session.
Asked about the gas station proposal, MBWWA’s vice president of public affairs and counsel Spencer Nevins said in a statement that, “the results of this poll clearly show Michigan voters don’t want more gas station selling beer. Voters are concerned about over-consumption, drunken driving, binge drinking and other risk factors related to alcohol, and they’re telling policymakers to share that concern.”
There also have been previous proposals to allow farmers’ markets to offer some types of booze sales
Back to the poll, exactly 75 percent said beer and liquor shouldn’t be available for purchase over the Internet, and 60 percent said beer and wine should not be delivered directly to homes or offices.
Pollsters asked voters if they think alcohol restrictions are too strict in the state, to which 62 percent said they’re just fine. Then, the pollsters took respondents through an explanation of Michigan’s three-tier regulation system, and asked the same question. The numbers didn’t change much – 61 percent said the regulations were fine.
When asked if the survey results show a ban on powdered alcohol in Michigan is appropriate – there’s a legislative proposal floating to enact such a ban – MBWWA provided a statement from Nevins, which said, “Nearly every major professional medical and public health organization in Michigan, from doctors, ER physicians and pharmacists, as well as law enforcement groups are calling on the Legislature to ban powdered alcohol.”