Uhuru grows as opposition drops -poll

President Uhuru Kenyatta speaking to Cord leader Raila Odinga at his home.photo/file

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President Uhuru Kenyatta has regained support in Central and Rift Valley and made inroads into opposition strongholds, according to a new opinion poll. As a result the Jubilee party leader has gained ground over Cord opposition leader Raila Odinga just 16 months before the 2017 elections.

In the poll released by Infotrak yesterday, 44.5 per cent of Kenyans said they would vote for Uhuru to be president, compared to 33.7 percent in November in the last Infotrak poll.

However Raila’s support in the same period dropped marginally from 28.7 percent to 27.8 percent.

This latest poll combined with Cord’s inability to agree on a presidential candidate leaves the opposition coalition with a mountain to climb in the run-up to the 2017 election.

The poll was conducted between March 6 and 10. A sample of 1800 respondents was interviewed to represent the Kenya adult population of 19.5 million with a margin of error of 2.31 percent and a 95 percent degree of confidence.

Uhuru has extended his lead over Raila by rebuilding support in Central and Rift Valley, according to the regional breakdown of the Infotrak poll. He also made inroads in opposition areas, presumably through his recent rallies at the Coast and Nyanza.

The Infotrak poll shows that 82 percent of Central Kenya voters would vote for Uhuru compared to 44 percent in the last poll in November.

Similarly the President’s support has shot up in Rift Valley from 39.2 percent to 54.6 percent in November.

Infotrak indicates that all other potential presidential candidates have stagnated or declined in popularity since the last survey in November.

Kalonzo Musyoka maintained his 2.5 percent share while Peter Kenneth who was third in November with 5.7 percent has now dropped to 2.2 per cent.

Martha Karua has dropped from 2.2 per cent last November to 0.7 per cent while William Ruto’s popularity dropped from 1.6 percent to 1.2 percent.

Moses Wetangula fell from at 1.4 percent in November to 0.5 percent today while Musalia Mudavadi slipped marginally from 1.2 percent to 1.1 percent.

The number of undecided voters also dropped from 21.7 percent in November to 16.7 percent currently.

Uhuru’s popularity shot up in all regions other than Western where it fell from 29.3 percent in November to 25 percent today.

The greatest gain was in Nairobi where Uhuru had 29.7 percent support in November but now has 46.3 percent. By comparison Raila has 27.6 percent compared to 28.7 percent in November.

“Nairobi, like all other main cities across Africa, has always been an opposition stronghold. What we have now seen is a flip that could be attributed to many things including the demographics in Nairobi due to its proximity to Central,” Infotrak CEO Angela Ambitho told a press conference yesterday.

Infotrak also suggests that Uhuru has made marginal gains in Coast and Nyanza regions which are perceived to be opposition strongholds.

In November, Uhuru had 13.5 percent support in Nyanza and now has 15.6 per cent while in Coast his popularity has risen from 26.1 percent to 28.5 percent.

Ambitho said it was not clear why Uhuru was gaining in the opposition areas but noted that the President has recently been pursuing various development agendas in these areas.

“We do have a populous community in Kisii and the President has been doing stuff in Nyanza, Western and at the Coast. The question then is are those initiatives picking ground?” Ambitho asked.

However Raila’s popularity rose in North Eastern from 19.4 percent to 29.3 per cent, at the Coast from 40.8 percent to 42.9 percent and in Nyanza from 49.9 per cent to 56.1 per cent.

In contrast, his support in Central dropped from 16 percent to 6.6 percent, in Western from 35 percent to 32 percent and in Rift Valley from 26 percent to 18 percent.

The Infotrak survey also indicated that 89 per cent of Jubilee supporters would choose Uhuru while 77 per cent of CORD supporters would choose Raila, if elections were held today.

“Interestingly 6 percent of CORD supporters would vote for Uhuru. On the flip side, 3 percent of Jubilee supporters would vote for Raila and 2 percent would vote for William Ruto,” Ambitho said.

Uhuru’s Jubilee Alliance Party has also overtaken ODM as the most popular party with 30 percent popularity compared to 26 percent for ODM.

However the combined parties of the Jubilee coalition have 40 percent support compared to 30 percent for the parties of the Cord coalition.

Jubilee is strong in in Central, Rift Valley, North Eastern and Nairobi while Cord dominates Coast, Nyanza and Western. The two coalitions sharing the Eastern region.

“Jubilee seems to have made noticeable inroads at the Coast and Western and Nairobi. This has resulted in their overall improved popularity rating overall,” Ambitho explained.

The proposed merger of the Jubilee coalition parties has also resulted in the reduction to negligible levels of the popularity of URP including in Rift Valley.

“Only two political parties have support that cuts across all regions and thus are symbolic of national appeal. These are the Jubilee Alliance party and ODM,” Ambitho said.

Uhuru and Raila are the two most popular leaders among the youth under 30 years with the President at 40 per cent and the opposition leader at 31 per cent.

According to the poll most Kenyans do not trust key institutions including the EACC (69.7 percent), Judiciary (60.5), police (58.7) and IEBC (50.4).

Moreover 52.2 percent have little or no trust in the opposition and 44.6 percent feel the same about the Jubilee government.

However 64.7 percent trust the media, by far the highest for any institution in Kenya.

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