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October 18, 2017

Uhuru, Raila in very tight race, three polls show

Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga
Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga

Five days to the polls, President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition chief Raila Odinga are locked in a dead heat that may lead to a run-off, three separate polls by three different pollsters suggest.

The surveys released yesterday show Raila has dramatically closed the gap with Uhuru in the last few weeks.

The General Election is on Tuesday.

Infotrak indicates the ex-Prime Minister would lead the presidential contest.

A poll by the Radio Africa Research Department indicates Raila has gained two percentage points over two weeks, while Uhuru has lost a similar margin over a fortnight.

The poll conducted from 25-31 July shows, however, that Uhuru would lead the crowded race of eight by 47 per cent against Raila’s 46 per cent.

The countrywide survey of 4,508 respondents indicates seven per cent of Kenyans are undecided.

Uhuru and Raila, both scions of the country’s founding fathers, are engaged in a fierce battle and are scouring every village.

On July 19, a similar poll by Radio Africa gave Uhuru 49 per cent against Raila’s 44 per cent.

The second Infotrak poll, conducted from July 27-31,indicates Raila would lead by 49 per cent against Uhuru’s 48 per cent — if elections were held at that time.

The survey of 5,000 respondents in all 47 counties indicates 2.2 per cent of 19.6 million voters are still undecided.

But a third poll by research firm Ipsos, also released yesterday, puts Uhuru ahead by 47 per cent against Raila’s 44 per cent.

The poll of 4,308 respondents in 47 counties from July 22-30 indicates five per cent of the 19.6 million voters are still undecided.

Five per cent translates into 980,000 voters.

But in what may give Uhuru a new headache, the poll indicates that most of those undecided voters are in Raila’s political turf.

Western, the political backyard of NASA principals Musalia Mudavadi (ANC) and Moses Wetang’ula (Ford Kenya), has the most undecided voters at 14 per cent.

Coast has nine per cent undecided, while Nyanza and Rift Valley have six per cent each.

The Ipsos poll also indicates Raila has gained one per cent over the last two weeks, while Uhuru has neither gained nor lost.

A similar poll released on July 24 suggested Uhuru would lead by 47 per cent against Raila’s 43 per cent.

But the Infotrak poll indicates that Raila would beat Uhuru decisively in five of the former eight provinces, while Uhuru would win in three regions only.

Raila would win Nyanza by 86 per cent, Western by 79 per cent, Coast by 63 per cent and Eastern by 51 per cent

Uhuru, on the other hand, would win Central by 92 per cent, Rift Valley by 65 per cent and North Eastern by 48 per cent.

The Ipsos poll had a margin of error of +/- 1.4 and a 95 per cent degree of confidence.

The Radio Africa poll indicates that Uhuru would win in 21 counties, while the NASA presidential candidate would win in 26 counties.

This is likely to pose a challenge for Uhuru, even if he crosses the 50 per cent plus-one threshold in the presidential vote.

According the Constitution, to be declared President, a candidate must not only garner 50 per cent plus-one of the total votes cast — but also secure at least 25 per cent of the votes cast in half of the counties.

According to the poll, Uhuru would score more than 90 per cent in all Central Kenya counties, including Embu and Tharaka Nithi.

He would also lead in Kajiado ( 57 per cent), West Pokot ( 48 per cent), Marsabit ( 52 per cent ) and Lamu ( 56 per cent).

Raila would win more than 88 per cent in Luo Nyanza counties but only 65 per cent in Kisii and 67 per cent in Nyamira counties.

Uhuru and Deputy President William Ruto have campaigned intensively in the Gusii region but Raila insists the two counties are safe opposition bastions.

The ODM leader, according to the poll, also leads in Nairobi ( 47 per cent), Samburu ( 50 per cent), Wajir ( 52 per cent), Taita Taveta ( 55 per cent), Turkana ( 58 per cent) and Narok ( 59 per cent).

Like Infotrak, Ipsos indicates Raila will win in five of the eight former provinces. Uhuru will bag three.

Raila win at the Coast ( 61 per cent), Nairobi ( 56 per cent), Northeastern ( 54 per cent), Nyanza ( 80 per cent) and Western ( 64 per cent).

However, Uhuru would defeat Raila in Central ( 88 per cent), Eastern ( 50 per cent) and Rift Valley ( 65 per cent).

In all three polls, the other six presidential candidate did not make a strong showing. Two surveys indicate their combined votes total barely one per cent. According to Infotrak, Alliance for Real Change presidential candidate Abduba Dida would garner 0.3 per cent and Third Way Alliance candidate Ekuru Aukot would get 0.1 per cent.

The other candidates — Cyrus Jirongo, Prof Michael Wainaina and Joseph Nyagah — would get none.

The Radio Africa poll also indicates Raila has overtaken Uhuru as the most popular candidate among youth aged 18-29.

It suggests 46 per cent of Kenyans aged 18-24 would vote for Raila, compared with 45 per cent for the President.

Forty-seven per cent of Kenyans aged 25-29 would vote for Raila, as compared with 45 per cent for Uhuru.

In a similar poll two weeks ago, Uhuru was the young people’s favourite.

According to IEBC statistics, there are 9.9 million registered voters aged between 18 and 34. This means that youths will have huge influence in the race for State House.

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