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Uhuru ahead of the pack but can't meet threshold, says poll

POLITICS
By Moses Nyamori | March 28th 2016
Infotrak CEO Angela Ambitho announces the survey findings yesterday. The poll indicated there would be a run-off between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga if elections were held today. [PHOTO BY EDWARD KIPLIMO/standard]

 

A pollster has predicted there would be a run-off if elections were to be held today.

 

President Uhuru Kenyatta, according to the poll, would be ahead of CORD leader Raila Odinga but would not attain the 50 per cent plus one vote needed to avoid a second election between the two candidates.

Infotrak predicted that Kenyatta would garner 44.5 per cent, which would fall short of the constitutional requirement for a first-round victory.

The President would have to battle it out in a run-off election with his main challenger, Raila, whom the poll ranks the second most preferred Presidential candidate with 27.8 per cent of the vote.

Before then, however, Raila would have to clear a nomination hurdle against former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka of Wiper Democratic Party and Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula.

In 2013, Kenyatta of Jubilee Alliance Party was declared winner with 50.07 per cent of the vote against his closest challenger Raila, the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy flag bearer, who garnered 43.31 per cent.

The Opposition contested Kenyatta’s election but the Supreme Court upheld his victory.

“Uhuru is still the most popular leader with 45 per cent popularity. He is followed by Raila who has 28 per cent. These are by far the two most popular leaders in Kenya currently,” says the survey whose findings were released yesterday.

In the poll results, Kalonzo comes third with only 2.5 per cent of respondents saying they would consider him for the top job.

Curiously, Peter Kenneth has a stronger showing at 2.2 per cent than Deputy President William Ruto (1.2 per cent), according to the poll.

CLEAR FAVOURITE

This is extended in Ruto’s turf of Rift Valley, where Mr Kenneth is supported by 3.5 per cent compared to the DP’s 2.9 per cent.

Wetang’ula, who is also the Senate Minority Leader, stands at 1.1 per cent.

Narc-Kenya leader Martha Karua and United Democratic Forum would-be candidate Musalia Mudavadi were ranked at 0.7 and 0.5 per cent in that order.

Raila, Kalonzo and Wetang’ula are tussling for CORD’s presidential ticket and if the findings of the results are anything to go by, the ODM leader is a clear favourite among the three ahead of next year’s General Election. Wetang’ula will launch his presidential bid on Saturday.

About 20 per cent of Kenyans are either “undecided on who their popular leader is or claim they have no interest in voting”.

Asked which political party they felt closest to, 30.1 per cent said the Jubilee Alliance Party, 26.2 per cent ODM and 19.6 per cent had none.

The poll was conducted between March 6 and 10, 2016 and sampled 1,800 respondents nationwide.

President Kenyatta leads in popularity in Central (82.6 per cent), Rift Valley (54.6 per cent), North Eastern (50.5 per cent) and Nairobi (46.3 per cent)

Raila enjoys support in three regions; Nyanza at 56.1 per cent, Coast at 42.9 per cent and Western at 32.1 per cent.

However, youth under 30 years feel frustrated by Kenyatta’s style of leadership and are warming up to the Opposition chief.

Among the youth, the gap between the two leaders has narrowed, with Kenyatta and Odinga enjoying 40 and 31 per cent respectively.

The latest research indicates that “Uhuru, while not as popular as he was in 2014”, has gained ground as his Government tries to fight runaway corruption allegations.

“In October last year, Uhuru’s popularity dropped from 60 per cent to 34 per cent. It has now increased to 45 per cent,” explained Infotrak Chief Executive Officer Angela Ambitho.

On the other hand, the Opposition leader’s popularity improved from 19 per cent in 2014 to 29 per cent last year, but has “remained the same in March”.

Within the rival coalitions, Kenyatta and Odinga are still the preferred candidates for the presidency.

“If elections were held today, 89 per cent of Jubilee supporters would elect Uhuru while 77 per cent of CORD supporters would elect Raila,” shows the survey.

Only about 7 per cent of CORD supporters would consider voting for Kalonzo while 2 per cent would vote for Wetang’ula.

In Jubilee, it is clear Mr Ruto will support Kenyatta’s second-term bid. In CORD, however, the three co-principals are all keen on clinching the coalition’s ticket.

Additionally, supporters of coalitions like Amani and Eagle “seem to have transferred their support to either Uhuru or Raila in addition to their key luminaries”.

About 35.5 per cent and 26.4 per cent of Eagle and Amani would support Kenyatta’s bid, while only 11.7 per cent of Amani would consider transferring their support to Odinga.

In terms of party popularity, the Jubilee is gaining ground and has taken away Nairobi, which has always supported the Opposition.

NATIONWIDE SUPPORT

Odinga’s ODM, which has been the most popular party, currently enjoys 26 per cent support compared to Jubilee Alliance Party’s 30 per cent.

“The recently launched Jubilee Alliance Party has overtaken ODM as the most popular party. JAP currently commands 30 per cent popularity in comparison to ODM’s 26 per cent,” reveals the research.

It is only ODM and Jubilee Alliance Party that enjoy nationwide support.

The study conducted in 26 counties out of the 47 further shows that a majority of Kenyans at 40.4 feel “closer” to Jubilee coalition against 30.8 per cent who are comfortable with CORD.

Jubilee commands support in Central, Rift Valley, North Eastern and Nairobi, while the Opposition CORD commands support in Coast, Nyanza and Western.

Eastern, where Mr Kalonzo comes from, still “sits as swing region” due to the strong presence of both coalitions.

The gains could be attributed to Jubilee’s political forays in some of the areas, particularly in Western where Kenyatta’s administration has made development pledges including the revival Mumias Sugar Company.

“It is these strides that have resulted in their improved popularity rating overall,” says the study.

“The merging of the Jubilee coalition parties has also resulted in a little reduction of Ruto’s United Democratic Movement popularity but mainly in Rift Valley,” adds the study.

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