, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 11 – A new opinion poll shows that Raila Odinga and Uhuru Kenyatta are now only four percentage points apart in popularity.
The poll by Insight Strategists Solution Africa (ISS Africa) shows Prime Minister Raila Odinga as the most popular presidential candidate at 34 percent, followed by his deputy Uhuru Kenyatta at 30 percent.
ISS Africa Director for Research and Analysis Idy Pembere said Odinga’s popularity had declined since their last poll in October due to the Miguna Miguna and ODM elections fiascos.
“People thought they were losing confidence in him based on Miguna’s recent outbursts in the media,” he said.
Pembere added; “Then there was the allegation of misappropriation of funds meant for Kazi kwa Vijana (KKV) project. He lost some ground from the youth particularly many who felt that someone in his office was stealing from something that should have benefited them.”
Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka comes in third with eight percent approval rating; William Ruto is fourth with five percent, followed closely by Martha Karua (three percent), Internal Security Minister George Saitoti (two percent) and Assistant Minister Peter Kenneth at one percent.
He says Kenyatta’s rise in popularity might have been as a result of sympathy he has received due to charges he’s facing before the International Criminal Court over the 2008 post-election violence.
Pembere also says his efforts towards stabilising the shilling also won him favour among those sampled.
“The shillings had actually gone south, trading at about Sh107 (to the US dollar) but then with Uhuru Kenyatta’s intervention, we were able to see the shilling recovering strongly,” he said.
The pollster added; “Remember the shilling is a very vital element to the economy. Most of those polled said if he makes it recover then he could be trusted with the leadership of the country.”
A section of those polled also cited his efforts to unite the warring factions in KANU and revamping it as their reason for supporting the Gatundu South MP.
ODM remains the most popular party with 37 percent, while PNU Alliance and KANU follow closely with 35 percent and 10 percent respectively.
The poll also shows that a presidential runoff is inevitable after this year’s general election.
ISS Africa Researcher Evans Alala says that none of the candidates aspiring for the top seat will be able to garner the 50 percent plus one vote required to win the presidency in the first round of the poll.
Alala added; “The runoff cannot be avoided and it’s also going to be determined by how possible the PNU Alliance can hold, and the strength of KANU because if they go into the second round together they can be a force to be reckoned with.”
Kenyatta’s support is mainly drawn from Central and Nairobi Provinces while Odinga is popular in Western, Nyanza, Coast and North Eastern Provinces. Musyoka draws his support from Eastern and Ruto from Rift Valley Province.
Those researched opined that the candidates should focus their campaign towards netting 8.8 percent of the undecided voters who could swing the outcome of the election
The research highlights that the women still lag behind in taking part in politics and making decisions.
The poll was conducted among 2,300 Kenyans aged between 18-49 years old.