A majority also appeared to believe Obama deserves more time. Only 34 percent said lingering economic problems were the president's fault, while 57 percent blamed his predecessor, George W. Bush.
"I think he's (done) excellent work with the horrible mess he inherited," said Nancy Gray, 49, a community college teacher in Traverse City.
In at least one case, voters did opt for change. They repealed a new law championed by Gov. Rick Snyder that gave appointed emergency managers sweeping authority to fire elected leaders and tear up labor contracts in financially distressed cities and school districts. But even that outcome showed respect for tradition, as opponents of the law contended it undermined the longstanding principle of self-government.
Emergency managers "take the power too far," said Michelle Harrell, 46, a Grosse Pointe Woods attorney who usually votes Republican and supported GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. "To suddenly say 'I'm going to stop paying you' is undemocratic."