Raila Odinga most preferred candidate - latest TIFA poll reveals

Azimio la Umoja presidential candidate Raila Odinga is the most preferred candidate at 42 per cent,  the latest poll by Trends and Insights for Africa (TIFA) shows.

Kenya Kwanza Alliance's William Ruto closely follows with 39 per cent while George Wajackoya of Roots Party comes in third at 4 per cent.

For clarity and nuance, the report says, "Since TIFA’s previous survey, the gap between them [Ruto and Raila] is slightly smaller (3 per cent rather than 4 per cent, though this gap falls within the survey’s margin-of-error of +/-2.7 per cent ), possibly making this result, in fact, a tie)."

The report, which was officially launched today (Monday, July 11)  says that David Mwaure of the Agano Party failed to elicit more than minuscule support in the survey.

Interestingly, TIFA says the gap between the two top contenders is narrow and could result in a tie.

Over the last two years, TIFA says Ruto’s presidential candidate popularity has remained within a very narrow range: between 35 per cent and 39 per cent. On his part, Odinga’s rating climbed from just 15 per cent to its current level of 42 per cent,  his highest rating yet.

In terms of party popularity, the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) is the most popular party followed by the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM).

UDA is at 33 per cent while ODM is at 26 per cent.

"UDA remains the most popular political party (33 per cent ), with another one-quarter (26 per cent ) aligned to ODM, leaving all other parties with less than half of this figure (13 per cent ).

"This leaves more than one-quarter (28 per cent ) who neither “feel close to” nor “support” any party or are undecided about this – perhaps surprising giving how close the country is to the next general election," reads the report in part.

In terms of political coalition popularity, Azimio la Umoja has the highest support with 42 per cent while Kenya Kwanza Alliance has 35 per cent.

The report further says that only UDA and ODM can claim a substantial level of nationwide support.

"Support for the two next most popular parties –Jubilee and Wiper - is quite concentrated in particular regions (Mt. Kenya and Lower Eastern, respectively), with the same applying to ANC, DAP-K and FORD-Kenya."

Roots Party, affiliated with presidential candidate Prof Wajackoyah, is equally popular in Central Rift and Mt. Kenya zones.

The survey was conducted between June 25 to June 30. The data collection was through telephonic interviews conducted in Kiswahili (mainly) and English. The margin of error +/- 2.34 per cent (Note: Larger error-margins for sub-samples)

TIFA says there have been major developments that have occurred since its previous survey that was conducted in mid-May, immediately after the announcements of Martha Karua (Azimio la Umoja) and Rigathi Gachagua (Kenya Kwanza) as running mates.

"Support for Ruto nationally has increased modestly over the last six weeks (from 35 per cent to 39 per cent ), his major gains being in Northern (by 15 per cent ) and in Nairobi and Western (9 per cent in both. He has also enjoyed an increase in support from Mt. Kenya (by 7 per cent ), the home area of his running-mate.

"However, he has suffered a significant loss of support only in South Rift (of 33 per cent ), but given its relatively small population, this was clearly not sufficient to prevent his overall/national increase (as noted, of 4 per cent )."

The report adds; "Nationally, the expressed voting intention for Odinga has increased slightly since mid-May (by 3 per cent ), his largest gain being in

South Rift (17 per cent ), though his gains in Lower Eastern and Nairobi (10 per cent and 9 per cent,  respectively) are also impressive. Significantly, in those regions where such voting intentions for him declined, they are very minor, the largest being Northern (just 2 per cent ).

"At the same time, the addition of Karua as his running-mate has yielded no change in the support level he enjoys in Mt. Kenya (the same as in mid-May: 24 per cent ), just over half the level support enjoyed by Ruto (as shown elsewhere, at 53 per cent )."