SUCCESSION POLITICS

66% of Kenyans unsure Uhuru will back Ruto in 2022 - poll

On the presidential race, poll puts Ruto (40 per cent) ahead of the pack followed by Raila (16 per cent).

In Summary

• Only 34 per cent of those polled believe that Ruto has the support of Uhuru despite their 2013 and 2017 partnership.

• The survey also shows that 39 per cent of those polled do not think there ought to any change to the 2010 Constitution, and a further 15 per cent are not sure.

Deputy President William Ruto, President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga at the launch of the BBI report.
Deputy President William Ruto, President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga at the launch of the BBI report.
Image: DPPS

An overwhelming majority of Kenyans doubt that President Uhuru Kenyatta will back his deputy William Ruto for the presidency in 2022, a new poll shows.

But the Usemi Survey by Kantar (formerly Research International) conducted last week shows that Ruto is the most preferred successor to Uhuru.

The survey is likely to ignite political fires across the divide as the country debates whether to amend the Constitution or not to implement the BBI proposals.

 

Kantar says that it collaborated with renowned political polling researcher Tom Wolf, formerly of Ipsos, who designed the questionnaire and analysed the data.

The poll was conducted among 1,203 adults between November 6 and 16. 

According to the poll, only 34 per cent of Kenyan adults believe that Ruto has the assured support of Uhuru despite their 2013 and 2017 partnership.

Over 40 per cent are not sure while 14 per cent believe Uhuru would support ODM leader Raila Odinga, with the assumption that the structure of government remains unchanged.

Interestingly, the poll also shows that over 42 per cent of adult Kenyans support Jubilee, whereas less than a fifth (16 per cent) support ODM.

This could be taken to mean that most Jubilee supporters are not convinced that Uhuru will endorse Ruto for the presidency.

Another 8 per cent of Uhuru's support is shared among other possible candidates including Baringo Senator Gideon Moi (4 per cent), Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i (1 per cent) and ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi (1 per cent). 

Poll shows Ruto is most preferred person to take after Uhuru with a majority unsure if the president will support his bid.
Poll shows Ruto is most preferred person to take after Uhuru with a majority unsure if the president will support his bid.
Image: Lucy Swan
 

Since the 2018 handshake with Raila,  speculation has been rife over Uhuru's position on the next election.

In 2018, while addressing Nyeri residents, Uhuru said that his choice of successor would surprise everyone.

"Whatever the President’s eventual announcement (or permanent silence), the fact that many Kenyans will indeed be “surprised” is evident in these results, in that even the most frequently mentioned expectation – i.e., support for the candidacy of the current Deputy President William Ruto – is mentioned by only about one-third of all respondents," the pollsters say.

Despite this result on Uhuru's silence, Ruto attracts the most support to be the next president at 40 per cent with Raila coming second at 16 per cent.

"The current DP receives the support of more than one-third for the presidency in 2022, but this proportion is still considerably lower than the actual votes he would have to receive for a first-round win (50% plus 1 vote)," the pollsters say.

At least 25 per cent of those polled are undecided about whom to support for president while 2 per cent refused to respond to the question.

Mudavadi attracts 3 per cent support, Moi (2 per cent), Matiang'i (2 per cent, Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka (1 per cent).

"What will happen to these figures after additional candidates emerge (whether or not the Constitution is amended, or relevant legislative changes) is anyone’s guess. But for now, the Deputy President stands in ‘pole position’," the pollsters say.

About a quarter of those interviewed report not having any party affiliation. That percentage is larger than that of people who self-identify with all opposition parties combined.

Party affiliation is generally lower among more educated people: 37 per cent of people with more than secondary education reporting no affiliation.

On the Building Bridges Initiative, only one in five Kenyans can name the task force that was formed after the handshake.

The poll shows that Kenyans are almost evenly split between supporting and not supporting the creation of the positions of the prime minister and leader of the opposition.  

The report shows that 49 per cent say that they support the creation of position as proposed by the BBI report while 45 per cent say that they do not.

It further shows that 85 per cent of Raila's supporters back the creation of the PM and opposition leader positions as compared to 16 per cent of Ruto's supporters.

The pollsters say that whether these proportions will hold after more Kenyans understand how the PM is set up in the BBI report is unclear.

"This is especially so since according to the BBI report’s recommendations, the prime minister will be a presidential appointee (though requiring majority approval by the National Assembly), rather than a political rival or counter-weight," the pollsters say in their analysis.

The survey also shows that 39 per cent of those polled do not think there ought to be any change to the Constitution. A further 15 per cent are not sure.

"Among the 46 per cent who (unprompted) reported support for any constitutional change, there is a very wide range of views (though not necessarily constitutional in nature)," the pollsters say in their report.

They explain that 14 per cent mentioned that they would support a reduction in the number of counties and/or constituencies, 9 per cent said they wanted changes relating to welfare/services/economic Improvement.

Another 7 per cent mentioned changes relating to IEBC and 4 per cent said they would support a change from the current presidential system to a parliamentary one.

"Better educated people tend to be more in favour of potential constitutional changes," the poll report says. 

Further, the poll says that 55 per cent of adult Kenyans who support Raila for president support constitutional changes compared to 42 per cent among those who back Ruto's presidential bid.

Kantar opened in Kenya in 1972 as Research Bureau Ltd, then changed its name to Research International, then TNS. 

They currently have over 200 full term and permanent research staff in Kenya, and are the largest research agency here.

Kantar’s Usemi Survey is a new national research initiative, launched to allow clients and the public understand more about Kenyans’ perceptions and attitudes.

Sample size and weighting

The achieved sample size for the first wave is 1203 adults aged 18 and older.

The sample was weighted to ensure national representativeness, specifically taking into account gender, age, education, working status, urban/rural area, likelihood of voting, religion, and county.

The error margin is +/-2.5% for a 95% confidence interval.

The average questionnaire duration was 28 minutes.