Who between Jubilee and NASA has the numbers?
By Paul Wafula and Moses Michira | February 21st 2017
A review of the latest voter registration figures suggests a statistical dead heat between the two main coalitions, if previous voting patterns are replicated.
By last Tuesday, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) had registered 3.5 million new voters, raising the tally in the voters’ roll to 19.5 million.
Assuming the ruling and Opposition coalitions each retain the counties they won in the 2013 presidential vote, and with similar voter turnout margins, the Jubilee coalition could get about 8.3 million votes (49.45 per cent) against NASA's 8 million votes (47.73 per cent). The assumption is that the Opposition coalition holds until polling day.
However, the outcome of the August 8 elections is dependent on an array of factors that include voter turnout, the impact of political realignments witnessed since 2013, the choice of the Opposition's joint presidential candidate as well as to what extent the electorate will be swayed by the manifestos of the competing parties.
A divided opposition would hand the governing coalition victory.
Yesterday, an Ipsos poll gave the President a 17 percentage point lead over his closest challenger, Raila Odinga, although such victory would not guarantee an outright win owing to the constitutional provision of 50+1.
According to the survey, if elections were held today, Uhuru would garner 47 per cent of the vote against Raila's 30 per cent.
Kalonzo Musyoka and Musalia Mudavadi, who are tussling for the NASA joint presidential ticket with Raila and Moses Wetang'ula, polled six per cent and three per cent respectively.
A detailed data analysis by The Standard on the projected 19.5 million registered voters also shows that seven counties could emerge as the swing voting blocs that will possibly influence the outcome of the polls.
The counties where none of the coalitions controls a clear majority, based on the 2013 election results, include Lamu, Marsabit, Garissa, Nairobi and Narok, which were won in a closely-fought election by the Opposition. Others include Samburu and Kajiado.
In 2013, the Opposition parties enjoyed a slight majority in six out of the seven counties marked as battlegrounds. Jubilee has 19 counties against the combined Opposition's 21 on the basis of the 2013 projections.
But having a majority of the counties is no guarantee of victory because the number of registered voters and actual voter turnouts are critical.
The IEBC is due to release the final figures today following the close of the mass voter registration on Sunday, which could raise the tally of new voters from the current 3.5 million. The voter register could also be impacted by the upcoming audit to remove ineligible entries such as dead voters.
However, going by absolute figures, that is assuming 100 per cent turnout across all counties, NASA could have an edge, albeit small.
A hypothetical 100 per cent turnout of the 19.5 million registered voters - again assuming the counties lean to the respective coalitions based on the 2013 performance - the Opposition could command 9.5 million – 100,000 more than Jubilee.
It is, however, impossible to have a 100 per cent turnout in the polls going by previous elections worldwide.
At any other turnout that is uniform across all counties, the Opposition would still be ahead although the margin significantly diminishes with a smaller number of voters. A win for NASA would still occasion a run-off.
The implication of the emergence of a third force to the voting pattern is also unclear at this point.
Our analysis assumes that the voter turnout will remain at the same level as in the 2013 election where 86 per cent of the registered voters turned out to vote.
Another assumption is that the same levels of votes are spoilt as the last elections and votes cast for the other candidates such as Martha Karua, Peter Kenneth, James ole Kiyiapi and Mohammed Abduba Dida in 2013 are not assigned.
Should any of the coalitions benefit from these votes, they stand to have an advantage, especially in winning the second round of the race.
This is because Martha Karua and Peter Kenneth have indicated that they will support President Uhuru Kenyatta's re-election bid. These figures may change if there is a fallout in the Opposition parties after they pick their flag bearer.
Of the counties that have either met their registration target or close to, only Narok at 98 per cent voted for Raila in the last elections.
IEBC burst its target more than three-fold in Kajiado County, where Uhuru enjoyed huge support, especially in the urban towns.
More than 98 per cent of the targeted registered voters in Mandera, which voted heavily for Jubilee, had their names on the register by last week, compared to Kiambu at 88 per cent and Kirinyaga at 87 per cent.
Some of the counties where NASA enjoys a clear majority include Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi, Tana River, Taita Taveta, Wajir, Kitui, Machakos, Makueni, Turkana, Trans Nzoia, Kakamega, Vihiga and Bungoma.
Other NASA wins will be expected in Busia, Siaya, Kisumu, Homa Bay, Migori, Kisii and Nyamira counties.
Jubilee on the other hand should win Mandera, Isiolo, Meru, Tharaka Nithi, Embu, Nyandarua, Nyeri, Kirinyaga and Murang'a counties.
The ruling coalition could also expect to win Kiambu, West Pokot, Uasin Gishu, Elgeyo Marakwet, Nandi, Baringo, Laikipia, Nakuru, Kericho and Bomet counties.
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