, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 8- Prime Minister Raila Odinga is still the most popular presidential candidate according to a new poll released on Friday.
Head of Research at poll firm Synovate Tom Wolf said 29 percent of those surveyed indicated they would vote for Mr Odinga if elections were to be held today, compared to 10 percent and seven percent who would vote for Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and President Mwai Kibaki respectively.
“He’s (Raila) nearly neck and neck with (those who said) none at 28 percent; now that does not mean that people will not vote in 2012, it just mean that as at December last year, they did not want to be forced to identify which person they were prepared to vote for,” he explained of the poll which was conducted between December 13 and 23 last year.
A breakdown of the eight provinces showed that the Premier led in all regions expect Central and Eastern Provinces when the question, ‘if the election for president, who would you vote for if that person was a candidate was to be held now,’ was posed.
An Infotrak Harris poll released on Saturday showed that 31 per cent of Kenyans trust Raila while only 11 per cent have faith in President Mwai Kibaki.
President Kibaki’s seven percent, the researcher said, was not a bad show considering that he has no constitutional intention of running again. The seven percent also placed him ahead of Gichugu MP Martha Karua with four percent and Eldoret North’s William Ruto.
While releasing the results, Mr Wolf however said more than a one third of Kenyans are reluctant to be identified with current political parties mainly because many still perceive the next election to be far off.
When asked which party the respondents felt close to, 36 percent said ‘none’ while 35 percent said ODM which means that the Orange Party’s popularity has declined.
“I would suggest that there are two main reasons; one is that there is no pressure on parties to declare their candidates, to finalise their manifestos, we don’t even know which parties will be on the menu in that election. Secondly, most people know that President Kibaki is not running again, who will be his successor in the PNU block,” he added.
The uncertainty also stemmed from the fact that Kenyans don’t know which office- between the Prime Minister’s and the Presidency- will wield the most power in the new constitution.
And while 35 percent of those surveyed said they were familiar with the contents of the harmonised draft constitution, 34 percent said they would vote for it if it a referendum was held today.
“The surprising thing is that even those people who said they could identify at least one thing that they didn’t like, almost half of them (43 percent) were still prepared to vote for it,” he said adding that “even at your favourite restaurant, you don’t eat everything on the menu.”
Still in the draft, Mr Wolf said 91 percent of Kenyans say they would like to be able to recall their Members of Parliament if they don’t perform.
While that provision was taken out of the harmonised draft, the researcher pointed out that together with the calls to increase their allowances, this would not win the MPs much support from the public.
Again the poll showed that majority of Kenyans (60 percent) would like the Prime Minister to be elected directly by the citizens while 57 percent reckon that the country should have a powerful president who does not delegate executive powers to the prime minister.