Nearly All Voters Agree Dental Care is Essential to Overall Health

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan voters overwhelmingly support Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposal to offer the state’s Healthy Kids Dental (HKD) program in all 83 counties, and voters back other public policies to improve oral health for children, military veterans, seniors and expectant mothers, a new survey found.

The new Marketing Resource Group (MRG) survey found three-quarters of Michigan voters — including strong majorities of Democrats, Republicans and independents – support moving the HKD program into all counties. HKD, currently offered in 75 of the state’s 83 counties, is a public/private partnership between the Michigan Department of Community Health, Delta Dental of Michigan and the Michigan Dental Association to provide dental coverage to Medicaid-eligible children and improve their dental health. In the MRG poll, 77 percent of voters say they’d support – 59 percent strongly — offering the program in all 83 Michigan counties.

Healthy Kids Dental Program_Graph

The statewide survey of 600 likely voters was conducted by Lansing-based MRG between March 17 and 23 and has a margin of error of ± 4 percentage points.

In the same survey, 97 percent of respondents said regular visits to the dentist are essential to overall health and well-being. In addition, 89 percent said Michigan schools should teach children about the importance of good dental health, 87 percent said parents and children should be educated about the potential health risks of drinking sugary beverages, and 80 percent believe dental screenings, education and treatment should be part of a woman’s prenatal care regimen.

“Unanimous results in polling are as rare as hen’s teeth, yet nearly all respondents to this survey clearly see the benefits of proper dental care,” said Paul King, director of research services for MRG. “Providing better access to that care for children and families who can least afford it makes perfect sense to a vast majority of Michiganders.”

Support for expansion of the HKD program is strong across all geographic regions of the state. From West Michigan to Metro Detroit to Up North, more than two-thirds of voters support HKD expansion, with most regions supporting it by 75 percent or more. That strong support also crosses political and ideological boundaries. Fifty-seven (57) percent of self-identified Republicans support its expansion, as well as 75 percent of self-identified independents and 94 percent of self-identified Democrats.

Additional findings from the poll include the following:

  • 76 percent believe dental care during pregnancy is safe, effective and necessary.
  • 72 percent have a favorable (42% very favorable) opinion of the HKD program.
  • 70 percent agree that adding fluoride to public water supplies helps prevent tooth decay.
    • 68 percent support adding fluoride to their own community public water supply.
  • 60 percent support (44% strongly) dental screenings for all Michigan students just starting school.

The exact wording of the questions and their aggregate results are attached as a supplement to this press release.

Survey Methodology
Marketing Resource Group’s Spring 2013 MRG Michigan Poll was conducted between March 17 and 23, 2013. The poll was conducted live by professionally trained telephone interviewers. The stratified random cluster sample of 600 likely voters has a margin of error of ±4 percentage points or less within a 95 percent degree of confidence. The statewide sample is representative of voter turnout in Michigan. The cluster sample was drawn from a list of voters likely to vote in the November general elections, which is determined by their participation in previous statewide general elections. People on that list and their voting histories are updated monthly. The poll sample is stratified by statewide voter turnout and is geographically representative of general election voter turnout in Michigan. Twenty percent of the respondents were contacted on their cell phones and indicated they do not own a “land line” telephone.


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