The latest opinion poll released in Kenya suggests that both Uhuru Kenyatta and Musalia Mudavadi would beat Raila Odinga in a second round run-off in the election for President if it were held today.
The poll conducted by Ipsos Synovate between September 24 and 28, surveyed 2,227 respondents across Kenya giving it statistically a ‘margin of error’ of +/- 2.2 per cent.
RAILA ODINGA TO WIN FIRST ROUND…
The survey found that Prime Minister Raila Odinga retains the lead in a first round of voting with 36 per cent of respondents saying they would support him, up from 33 per cent recorded in the Ipsos Synovate poll conducted in July.
However, Uhuru Kenyatta’s support in the first round has increased to 30 per cent of those surveyed, up from the 23 per cent he achieved in the July poll.
Other first round voting intentions revealed by the survey were that Musalia Mudavadi would receive 7 per cent support, William Ruto 6 per cent (down from 12 per cent in July), Kalonzo Musyoka 5 per cent and Martha Karua 3 per cent.
BUT KENYATTA AND MUDAVADI WOULD WIN SECOND ROUND…
Raila Odinga’s problem comes in the second round of voting in the presidential election due next March, and with the poll showing no single candidate reaching 50 per cent of the vote plus one to achieve an outright first round victory, the election would go to a second round.
In a run-off between Odinga and Kenyatta, the Ipsos Synovate poll predicts Raila Odinga on 42 per cent of the vote and Uhuru Kenyatta reaching the 50 per cent mark.
If the run-off was between Odinga and Mudavadi, the poll predicts a closer battle with Raila Odinga on 44 per cent but Musalia Mudavadi winning on 47 per cent.
|1ST Round||2nd RoundOdinga vs Kenyatta||2nd RoundOdinga vs Mudavadi|
Ipsos Synovate’s Managing Director Maggie Ireri said that the percentage of ‘undecided’ voters was high at 8 per cent of those polled. The Kenya Forum would term it ‘significant’ in that 8 per cent of voters could decide the election by swinging in a majority behind one candidate or another, ‘high’ it is not. In most democratic elections the number of ‘undecided’ voters six months before an election would be more likely to be twice the figure recorded in the Ipsos Synovate poll.
The problem for Raila Odinga, as the Kenya Forum has noted before, is that whilst he looks set to win a first round of voting for the presidency (his poll ratings have consistently been around the mid 30-40 per cent range) it is difficult to see where he gets the extra 15 per cent or so that he needs to win in the second round.
THE SECOND ROUND ‘SWITCH’
The Ipsos Synovate poll suggests that Uhuru Kenyatta would retain 98 per cent of his first round supporters in a second round vote, and in the second round win the support of 81 per cent of Ruto’s first round voters, 58 per cent from Musalia Mudavadi, 63 per cent from Kalonzo Musyoka and 53 per cent of Martha Karua’s supporters.
Raila Odinga, would keep a lower percentage of his first round voters, the poll suggests, retaining 94 per cent of them, and taking 16 per cent from Ruto’s first round vote, 35 per cent from Mudavadi, 22 per cent from Kalonzo and 36 per cent from Karua.
|KEEP FROM OWN 1ST ROUND VOTE|
|TAKE FROM OTHER CANDIDATES’ 1ST ROUND VOTE|
|TO ODINGA||TO KENYATTA|
VOTING INTENTIONS BY REGION
At a regional level the Ipsos Synovate poll shows Raila Odinga clearly ahead in four regions of Kenya – Coast, North Eastern, Western and Nyanza, marginally in the lead in Nairobi, and trailing Kenyatta in Eastern and Central regions.
The large and crucial Rift valley vote, however, appears to be evenly split between ODM (26 per cent), TNA (25 per cent) and the URP (19 per cent).
|REGISTERED VOTERS PER REGION (2010)ELECTORAL COMMISSION OF KENYA (ECK)|
So again Raila Odinga has a problem. He is ahead in a majority of regions but level with or behind his main opponent in the four regions that hold the largest numbers of electors (Nairobi, Eastern, Central and Rift Valley).
Raila Odinga’s chances of victory in the election may have been damaged by the allegations made by his former aide Miguna Miguna in his book ‘Peeling Back the Mask’. It is likely too that recent defections from the ODM will not have helped his cause.
ODM PARTY SUPPORT HOLDING UP
Raila Odinga will take some comfort from the poll’s findings that the Orange democratic Movement (ODM), Raila’s party, still retains the most popular support at 35 per cent of those questioned. The National Alliance, Uhuru Kenyatta’s party however has risen to 27 per cent support while the Party of National Union has collapsed to just 1 per cent support.
There are six months to go to the election and much could change in that time. The final vote will be influenced by who the main contenders choose as their vice-presidential running mates. Significant too could be the alliances between parties that have yet to be made. And the turn out of voters on the day could play an important part in deciding the result.
As someone once said, “A week is a long time in politics”. Six months is an age.