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Uhuru maintains 15-point lead over Raila, new Ipsos survey reveals

By Josphat Thiong'o | Feb 14th 2017 | 3 min read
Ipsos Synovate lead researcher Tom Wolf, address the media during the release of 1st Quarter 2017 Social, Political, Economic and Cultural (SPEC) survey in Nairobi, on February 13 2017.The research, conducted between 9th–26th of January 2017, shows more than two-thirds of Kenyans are living in poverty, with more employment seen by far as the most effective way to combat it. PHOTO DAVID NJAAGA/STANDARD}

President Uhuru Kenyatta continues to enjoy the highest level of public confidence, although there's a decline from his peak ratings in 2014.

Heading to the General Election in August, a survey by Ipsos Synovate Kenya shows the President has 66 per cent confidence ratings and his deputy William Ruto 52 per cent.

The nationwide poll was done from January 9 to 26.

"In November 2014, the President's performance rating was at 78 per cent. It seems to have decreased especially in the last three months," said Ipsos researcher Tom Wolf, adding that the President had recorded a 57 per cent approval rating in the past three months.

Confidence levels for all the main Opposition leaders are considerably lower, but among them ODM leader Raila Odinga has the highest.

Of those polled, 51 per cent said they had confidence in Raila. Kalonzo Musyoka scored 42 per cent, Musalia Mudavadi 41 per cent and Moses Wetang'ula 34 per cent.

The four are tussling for the National Super Alliance (NASA) joint presidential ticket, which suggests Raila is the man to beat for the coalition's flag-bearer.

The report says Kenyans identified factors such as ignoring or abetting crime (46 per cent), the current economy (19 per cent), labour relations and strikes (8 per cent), poor infrastructure (5 per cent), leadership (3 per cent) and healthcare (3 per cent) to have sunk the Jubilee administration's performance in the past three months ahead of the August 8 elections.

Reasons given for Uhuru's lead include the belief by his supporters that he has achieved a lot in infrastructure (41 per cent), education (14 per cent) and the economy (11 per cent).

"On the President's performance in the past three months, 57 per cent of Kenyans approve of President Uhuru Kenyatta, while 35 per cent disapprove. There is also a population constituting eight per cent that chose to reserve their opinion on the President," reads the report.

While the high cost of living and corruption were cited as "the most serious problems" facing the country as a whole, hunger was by far the most serious one recognised at the local level.

Over the past three months, household economic conditions have worsened for more than three times as many Kenyans as for those for whom they have improved, the poll shows.

More than two-thirds of all Kenyans reported that all or many of the people in their localities were living in poverty, with more employment seen by far as the most effective way to combat it.

Almost twice as many Kenyans think the country is heading in the wrong direction as in the right direction, but with a marked contrast between Jubilee and Opposition supporters about this.

However, since four years ago, the gap between those who consider the country's direction as "wrong" and "right" has decreased by about half.

Of the 57 per cent who gave the President the thumbs up in the past three months, 84 per cent of Jubilee supporters feel the President has achieved a lot in that time, while 10 per cent disapprove.

The majority of those who disapprove of the President's performance are aligned to CORD or NASA, while 69 per cent feel Uhuru's performance has been on the decline.

There is however 25 per cent of Opposition supporters who feel Uhuru has achieved a lot.

Regionally, Central records the highest levels of confidence in the President with an 88 per cent approval rating and only nine per cent disapproval.

The Rift Valley comes in second with an approval rating of 71 per cent and only 20 per cent disapproval. Coming in third is Eastern region where 68 per cent of Kenyans feel the President's performance has dropped.

Interestingly, Nyanza region records the highest percentage of disapproval for the President's performance at 68 per cent; those approving constitute only 30 per cent.

Western region gives the President a 52 per cent approval and 37 per cent disapproval.

Nairobi recorded a 57 per cent approval and 39 per cent disapproval rating.

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