, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 4 – About 70 percent of Kenyans feel that the current high cost of living is the most serious problem facing the country, as inflation rates soared to 18.9 percent in October.
This was revealed in the latest opinion poll by Ipsos Synovate, sampling 2,000 Kenyans from across the country, with 69 percent saying that the high cost of living was spiraling out of control.
Ipsos Synovate Managing Director Maggie Ireri noted that the prices of basic foodstuff, kerosene and fuel had hit the roof over the last few days increasing the financial constraints on Kenyans.
“If you go to the retail markets you’ll find that a kilo of sugar in April was Sh98 but is currently being sold for Sh220 in some outlets. That’s quite high and it’s no wonder Kenyans are saying that the high cost of living is the most serious problem facing them,” she explained.
Ireri further revealed that only a paltry six percent of Kenyans felt that the government was working towards mitigating the effects of the rising food and fuel prices.
In comparison concerns about unemployment rates, among Kenyans, came a distant second with only seven percent mentions.
In September the inflation rates in the country stood at 17.3 percent while in January they stood at 5.42.
“If you look at the figures there, only four percenet of Kenyans feel that the government is doing well in addressing the problem of fuel prices; six percent on food prices and eight percent on unemployment,” she said.
“The high cost of living is a key problem and when Kenyans rate the government, the rates go down,” she added.
Meanwhile the pollsters also surveyed Kenyans on their most preferred presidential candidate. Prime Minister Raila Odinga emerged the most popular but with an approval rating of 34 percent followed by Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta with 24 percent.
Ireri however observed that the latest findings indicated a high chance that there would be a run off after the polls. She revealed that a majority of the respondents indicated that they would vote for Kenyatta if the run-off was between him and Odinga.
“When we asked Kenyans who they’d vote for in a run-off between Odinga and Kenyatta, 44 percent said they would vote for Kenyatta while 41 percent said they would vote for Odinga. However 15 percent were undecided,” she noted.
The survey also revealed that Odinga would emerge the winner in a run-off between him and Eldoret North MP William Ruto. Kenyatta would also win a run-off between himself and Ruto.
It also indicated that only 27 percent of Kenyans were aware of the constitutional requirement that a presidential aspirant must garner at least 50 percent plus one votes to win the election.
“Awareness is higher in Nairobi province with a prevalence rate of 54 percent followed by Central province with 37 percent and Nyanza with 32 percent. All other regions had awareness levels below 30 percent,” she explained.
Moreover 49 percent of the respondents, who voted for Mwai Kibaki in 2007, said they were most likely to vote for Kenyatta in the next presidential elections while 11 percent said they would vote for the Prime Minister.
On the other hand, 62 percent of the respondents, who voted for the PM, said they would vote for him again in the next elections although he would lose 16 percent of his supporters to Ruto.
The survey, which was conducted between October 15 and 23, also showed that Kenyans were still in support of the International Criminal Court process.