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Raila s approval rating plummets

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 12 – A new poll released on Saturday shows that Prime Minister Raila Odinga\’s popularity as a possible successor to President Mwai Kibaki has dwindled over the last four months.

According to the Synovate poll released on Saturday, Mr Odinga who still leads the list of Presidential hopefuls has dropped 13 percentage points to stand at 34 percent from 47 percent in October.

Second placed Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta\’s popularity was up 6 percentage points to stand at a distant 16 percent over the same period.

Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka has stagnated at 8 percent coming third while support for Martha Karua has risen by two points to 7 percent over the same period. Eldoret North MP William Ruto trails the VP at 6 percent while youthful politician Eugene Wamalwa comes sixth at 2 percent.

"Given the fact that the new constitution requires a presidential candidate to (a) obtain at least 50 percent + 1 of the vote, and (b) obtain at least 25 percent of the vote in at least half of the 47 counties, it appears likely that if a presidential election were held now a second round, run-off contest would be required," said Synovate Managing Director George Waititu.

Curiously 24% either support none of those who have declared interest or are not decided on who to rally behind.

The Premier\’s popularity has slipped in all provinces including his Nyanza home turf and the friendly Western region. Mr Kenyatta\’s support base has increased in Nairobi, Rift Valley, North Eastern and Central.

Mr Waititu notes that ethnicity is slowly being eclipsed as a key deciding factor of support base as the even within their home provinces, ethnic identity fails to produce anything close to unanimous support.

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"For example, support for Uhuru Kenyatta and Martha Karua combined constitute just 54 percent; in Nyanza Raila Odinga attracts 62 percent, while in Eastern Province, Kalonzo Musyoka earns just 21 percent, and in Rift Valley, William Ruto was chosen by just 12 percent (whereas Kalenjin constitute about 40 percent of the province\’s population, with Odinga being about twice as popular there – at 24 percent)," said Mr Waititu while noting, that these three latter provinces are not ethnically homogeneous.

ODM\’s reputation has also dropped now registering a 35%support as compared to 48 % in October and 38 % in December. Mr Waititu attributes this decrease to the current party politics where ODM has split into two \’wings\’: that of Mr Odinga (and allies), and that of William Ruto (and allies).

"As such, it is unclear how much this figure would change if these two groupings formally separate, and whether this occurs in the context of a presidential candidate nominations shortly before election campaigns begin, or some time prior to that," he noted.

For its part, PNU remains statistically constant as compared to ODM maintaining its standing of18 percent last December. Narc Kenya and ODM Kenya have lagged behind at 7 percent and 3 percent respectively.

"There is also a relatively high figure of 32 percent, which doesn\’t support any party," Mr Waititu noted.

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