It could be significant: with opinion polls showing the leading candidates for Kenya’s presidency running almost neck-and-neck, a survey by Consumer Insight suggests that 34 per cent of TV viewers may have been influenced to change their choice of presidential candidate after watching the Great Presidential Debate 2013. Meanwhile social media trends paint a slightly different picture.
THREE OPINION POLLS
The most recent opinion poll published on behalf of Citizen TV’s ‘Monday Special’programme, show on average only a 2 per cent margin between the Odinga/Musyoka ticket and Uhuru Kenyatta/Ruto.
The three opinion polls by Infotrak, Synovate and Strategic Research (see link) released last week, received surprisingly little coverage. The polls’ findings in percentage terms were as follows:
Infotrak – Odinga 45 Kenyatta 43 Mudavadi 7 Kenneth 2
Synovate – Odinga 44 Kenyatta 40 Mudavadi 5 Kenneth 2
Strat. Res. – Odinga 44 Kenyatta 42 Mudavadi 7 Kenneth 2
The above figures are all pretty much consistent (although the Kenya Forum still does not know whether the polls excluded the genuinely ‘undecided’, or that the polling companies were sure that they were surveying registered voters) but that was before the ‘Great Presidential Debate 201’. Could it, will it, make a difference?
TV VIEWERS INFLUENCED TO CHANGE
A survey by Consumer Insight published in the Daily Nation today claims that 34 per cent of TV viewers who saw the debate say that it “influenced them to change their choice of presidential candidate”, according to Ndirangu Maina, Consumer Insight’s managing director.
Consumer Insight interviewed 328 TV viewers by telephone straight after the debate and found that 27 per cent ranked Kenyatta as the best performer, 26 per cent Peter Kenneth, 22 per cent Raila Odinga and 12 per cent Martha Karua.
WHAT ABOUT RADIO LISTENERS?
Of course 328 respondents is a small sample and the survey was of TV viewers. Older readers and political scientists may know that in the 1962 US elections, John F. Kennedy ‘won’ the debate according to TV viewers but his Republican rival Richard Nixon ‘won’ according to those who listened to the debate on radio. A poll of the many Kenyans listening to Monday’s debate on the radio might have been interesting.
These days there are other options when it comes to viewing, learning about and responding to something like a TV debate. It is of interest to the Kenya Forum that the candidate trending on Kenya’s social media, and Twitter in particular, at the moment is… Abduba Dida.
We await with interest opinion poll surveys conducted after the ‘Great Debate’.