Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Surveying Flintoids

Now's your chance to help out a Flint Expatriate and further the academic study of the Vehicle City...

Hello. My name is Nancy Alamy and I am a fellow Flint expat. I am in the process of writing my Master's thesis at Georgetown University and am looking into political attitudes among current and former Flint residents. I am hoping that some of you reading this blog will be willing to help me out by taking a short 10-15 minute survey. By participating in this survey you will also have the option to be entered into a drawing for one of three $50 gift cards.

The survey is confidential and no identifying information (such as name, birth date, social security number etc.) will be asked. Responses will be reported to me in the aggregate, as percentages of a whole. There will be no way for me to identify who is answering, or link them to their specific answers.
Here are the parameters I am looking for in my participants:

1.) Over the age of 18.

2.) Either:Current Flint city or Township residents or those who grew up in Flint city or Township (having spent 10+ years there between birth-17 years old), but who now live out of the state of Michigan. (This probably means you!).

The survey must be completed by March 5th, 2012 to be included in the study.

Any further assistance getting the word out by passing along the link to friends, family, or coworkers from Flint who might be willing to participate would be greatly appreciated as well.

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me at

Thank you so much for your help!


  1. From a reseach standpoint, I don't understand the rationale for not including people outside Flint or Flint Township, but still within Michigan. It would seem that those are the people who have family considerations (children, aging parents, etc.) that kept them relatively close by. Another consideration is that much of what was in Flint has moved fairly close by or expanded, such as McLaren, Citizens Bank, and even General Motors.

  2. So maybe the study has something to do with the relationship between City of Flint and Flint Township?

    As opposed to Flint's relationship with Mundy Township, Grand Blanc Township, the City of Burton, Genesee Township, Mt. Morris Township, etc. ...?

  3. Thank you for your comment. I am concentrating on Flint and Flint Township because I am most interested in determining if there is a shift underway in political attitudes among residents as a microcosm for possible future national trends. As an urban center Flint plays an important role in determining how Michigan swings during presidential elections. It is precisely the fact that many of the bigger organizations that you cite in your comment have moved out of Flint that I am interested in how or if that has affected political attitudes and community engagement among residents. Outside of Flint I am specifically interested in surveying people who grew up there, but now live out of state and not those who have simply moved to another city within Michigan because they no longer are linked to the prevailing political environment affecting the state. It would be difficult to distinguish trends between those who move to Swartz Creek for instance, and those who remain in Flint Township.

    I want to thank all of you once again who have participated! And also Gordon for so graciously agreeing to post a link to my survey.

    Keep 'em coming! The more responses I get, the more thorough my research results will be.

    If anyone has any suggestions of other places I should post, or would be willing to hang up a flier or two with the information around Flint please leave a comment or e-mail me so I can send a copy along to you. (Area colleges, churches, community centers etc.) I encourage every Flint resident over the age of 18 to participate, but I am especially in need of those in the 18-30 demographic at this point. I'm in the D.C. area though so I'm a bit out of the loop regarding the "cool" places to hang out these days and am always open to suggestions.

    Thanks again! I am so grateful for all your help!

    1. Not in your 18-30 demographic, but fit the other criteria. Wanted to mention that I don't watch televised news, cable or otherwise. There was not an area for 'none' to choose, so I answered the way I would have if/when I did watch TV.

      I have family in Flint and feel bad for them and the other residents who continue to hang in there hoping for improvement. Success can only come from within.

      Good luck with your studies.

  4. Interference, Digital Radio and TV, and the decline of The Flint Journal have made it difficult to follow what's going on in Flint on a regular basis, if like many, they moved to places like Ann Arbor, Lansing-East Lansing, and Suburban Detroit. Digital TV has nowhere near the range of Analog TV. I watched WJRT Channel 12 flash cut (right after the news in my recollection) to digital on August 12, 2009, from a distance of 65 miles or so, and I have not seen it since. So that is out for news. WFDF was unquestionably the best radio source of news from Flint, but since they went to Radio Disney and then moved to Detroit, there is almost no news. And since Les Root then retired from WWCK, Flint's finest radio newsman is gone. If it weren't for the abysmal national news coverage of Flint, almost always negative, on Detroit TV, network TV, and the Detroit newspapers and NYT, we'd have no news at all.

    So the people outside of Genesee County are almost as far out of the loop as those who have moved hundreds of miles away. You can read some on the Internet, but please, not while driving!

  5. > As an urban center Flint plays an important role in determining how Michigan swings during presidential elections <

    Certainly in the metro Flint area it "feels" as if per-capita average sociopolitical energy levels are higher in the suburbs than in Flint proper. In that regard, I'm doubting if Flint any longer is a Democratic stronghold politically. Historically, metro Flint unionized auto workers tended to be Democratic-leaning but with significant conservative tendencies and a lot of awareness of (particularly) central European foreign policy stances at the national level. These voters were by and large heads-of-household and significant influencers, and the metro Flint working class population in general was very heavily Democratic in most state-level issues. Most of the metro Flint Republican vote was more evenly distributed through the ring-suburbs, and of course skewed older and/or higher-income.

    Given that the Flint area auto worker unions are shadows of their former selves and the most Democratically active locals were among those that no longer exist due to their plants being gone, does Flint statistically still have a significant Democratic weight on state issues? I'd think that the metro Flint vote would have been both shrinking and tilting toward 50:50 for many years now.

  6. On your survey, it does not list Fox as a cable news network. However it does list Fox as network news. Honestly, I am confused. It feels as if this is geared for someone currently living in Flint. Or were the questions meant to ask me what i would watch when i did live in Flint? I want to give accurate responses because I feel like your doing something really great.

  7. I commend your efforts and encourage you with this project. However, I do think some of the questions could have had different answer options as I did not think that I "fit" into some of the buckets. Regardless, I hope you get a lot of responses to make this meaningful. Best of luck!

  8. Frustrating in that the answer was often "none of the above," but that wasn't an available option. Only two options are "Conservative" or "Liberal"? Please.

    1. As you probably noticed the entire survey was pretty liberally biased. The only options for Flint's current problems were to blame either the government or GM/labor unions.

      What about the apathy of the people? Do the people of Flint really care anymore or are they just looking for someone to blame for the way the city is?

      I think too many residents are just resigned to the way things are.


Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at