IF the election were held today, incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta would still defeat NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga, a Star survey indicates.
In the opinion poll, Uhuru is ahead with 48 percent while the opposition chief trails him at 39 percent.
In May, a similar poll by the newspaper’s research department had put Uhuru at 49 percent, while Raila was at 40 percent.
The Star poll was conducted in 28 counties sampled from the former eight provinces. It was done through Computer Aided Telephone Interview between May 3-14, with 3,430 respondents over 18 years old in the counties. The poll carries a 1.7 percent margin of error with a 95 percent confidence level.
The number of undecided voters increased by two percentage points from 10 percent to 12 percent between May and the date of the latest poll. This is interesting, considering there are only 41 days left to the General Election.
Some 59 percent said they would vote for Uhuru because of his development record, while 15 percent said they prefer Raila’s development agenda.
Many respondents (42 percent) would vote for Raila due to his agenda to develop the economy, while 21 percent would vote for Uhuru for the same reason.
Raila would beat Uhuru in terms of creation of employment, fighting tribalism and dealing with insecurity at 10.5 per cent, 3.3 per cent and 2.1 percent, respectively.
The survey is likely to leave Raila and his advisers pondering their strategy at a time when he has been going flat out to portray Uhuru as an unpopular candidate.
Raila is this morning expected to unveil his manifesto containing the development agenda his alliance has in store for Kenyans.
Yesterday, President Uhuru unveiled an eight-key pillar reelection manifesto in an aggressive scramble for the 19 million registered voters against Raila.
Buoyed by what his strategists call “a four-year Jubilee success story”, Uhuru and Deputy President William Ruto, who rode to State House on jumbo pledges, hope to reinvent themselves to parry a sustained opposition onslaught.
Key proposals in Jubilee’s reelection plank include the promise of free secondary education starting January next year, expansion of the Standard Gauge Railway from Naivasha to Malaba, increasing the penetration of electricity to remote areas and more jobs for the youth.
Quality, affordable and adequate urban housing, free medical cover for the elderly above 70 years, expansion of irrigation that includes placing the botched Galana Kulalu scheme under public/private partnership to maximise returns, and making government services accessible to all Kenyans.
“There is nothing spectacularly new about our manifesto, ours is the continuation of what we started in 2013, the train has taken off and we want to tell Kenyans that it is too late to disembark,” said Jubilee party vice-chairman David Murathe.
Some 33 percent of the respondents strongly believe the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission will deliver a free, fair and credible election, while 7 percent strongly hold a contrary opinion. Only 4 percent have no idea if the commission chaired by Wafula Chebukati will conduct a credible election.
Interestingly, the majority of respondents who think that the IEBC will conduct a free and fair election are supporters of Uhuru, at 50 percent, while only 15 percent of Raila’s supporters think so.
On the possibility of election-related violence resulting from post-poll disputes, 2 percent of President Uhuru’s backers said they believe there could be violence, while 5 percent of Raila’s supporters shared the same opinion. On the possibility of violence not erupting, most of Uhuru’s supporters (42 percent) said there will be no violence while on the other hand, 30 percent of Raila’s supporters are of the opinion that there will be no violence.
Uhuru takes the lead as the most preferred presidential candidate among all the age groups.
46 percent of voters within the age bracket of 18 to 24 years would vote for Uhuru, while 41 percent in the same age group would vote for Raila; 12 percent are undecided.
In age group 25 to 29, 46 percent would vote for Uhuru, 41 for Raila and 12 percent are undecided.
In age group 30 to 34, 48 percent would stand behind Uhuru, 38 percent with Raila and 14 percent are yet to make up their minds on who to support.
Between the ages of 35 to 39, a large number, 51 percent, would throw their weight behind Uhuru, while 40 percent will support Raila, and 8 percent are still undecided.
Uhuru and Raila would get 53 percent and 37 percent, respectively, from the voters between the age bracket of 40 to 49 while 58 percent and 30 percent of voters between the age of 50 and above would vote for Uhuru and Raila, respectively.
Interestingly, the two leading presidential candidates are almost running neck and neck with male voters where Uhuru has 47 percent, while Raila has 44 percent.
Uhuru, however, is more popular with women, as 50 percent of female respondents say they would vote for him, compared to 34 percent for Raila.
Uhuru and Raila have made serious inroads in each other’s turf, gaining ground and making a contest in areas that last year voted religiously for either of them.
Raila has conspicuously infiltrated Bomet and Meru counties, which voted for President Uhuru almost to a man, getting 20 percent and 32 percent, respectively, according to the poll.
Uhuru scored 78 percent in Bomet and 53 percent in Meru.
In 2013, Raila got 7.5 percent of votes in Meru against Uhuru’s 89.4 percent. That was the same case in Bomet, where Uhuru got 92.6 percent against Raila’s paltry 4.6 percent.
The penetration of Bomet by the opposition is attributed to Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto’s crossing over to NASA, where he is a principal and a Pentagon member.
NASA has also mounted serious campaigns in Meru, county. A week ago, the NASA brigade camped in the region that is traditionally perceived to be Jubilee’s stronghold.
The President, on the other hand, appears to be making serious inroads in Raila’s traditional vote basket of Bungoma, Kitui, Kilifi, Busia and Machakos, posting a steady rise compared to 2013, where he trailed Raila by big margins.
According to the study, Uhuru’s popularity in Bungoma now stands at 38 percent, 42 percent in Kilifi, 33 percent in Kitui, 23 percent in Busia and 30 percent in Machakos.
During the last election, Uhuru got less than 15 percent in all the five counties, which overwhelmingly voted for Raila.