Deputy President William Ruto’s bottom-up economic model campaign slogan resonates with at least 47 percent of Kenyans, while 36 percent are excited about ODM leader Raila Odinga’s Sh6,000 cash transfer pledge, a Nation opinion poll shows.
However, the rest of the population, at least 18 percent, does not identify with either of the campaign agenda, which are popular in the two front-runners’ strongholds of Central and Rift Valley for Dr Ruto and Nyanza and Coast for Mr Odinga.
The poll conducted by Infotrak for the Nation also finds that 53 percent of the population cited high cost of living as a major problem that needs to be addressed as a “matter of priority”.
A majority of those who cited high cost of living as a major concern associated themselves with Dr Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) at 57 percent compared to those who identified with Jubilee at 47 percent, ODM at 51 and Wiper Party of Kalonzo Musyoka at 54 percent.
Dr Ruto and his allies have sustained a narrative that Jubilee’s poor governance in its second term under President Uhuru Kenyatta was to blame for the skyrocketing fuel and food prices.
But the President recently rebuffed the claims by telling off the critics that the high cost was largely due to the vagaries of Covid-19 and the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine.
Transport, infrastructure and roads at 49 percent, unemployment (44 percent), access to clean water (40 percent), access to healthcare (23 percent), quality education (19 percent) and insecurity and crime (16 per cent) have also been listed as key issues of concern by most Kenyans.
Further analysis of the data shows that the Coast region is the most concerned about the high cost of living at 57 per cent, followed by Western and Eastern at 55 percent each. The high cost of living is also a worrying trend in Central at 54 percent, Nairobi 53 percent, Nyanza and Rift Valley at 52 percent and North-eastern at 43 per cent.
North-eastern is, however, more concerned about access to clean water at 69 percent, being the highest; while Mt Kenya and Rift Valley are more concerned about transport, infrastructure and roads at 60 per cent and 54 per cent respectively.
Nyanza cited unemployment as its key issue of concern at 55 per cent, as did the population in the capital city of Nairobi.
Further, more female voters at 54 percent were worried about the cost of living, compared to their male counterparts at 53 per cent, with the youth in the 18-24 age bracket being the most worried lot, followed by those in the 25-29 and 36-45 age brackets at 55 and 54 percent respectively. Kenyans least worried about the high cost of living are in the age bracket of 46-55 years at 51 percent.
The poll was conducted on May 8–9, sampling 2,400 respondents in 47 counties and had a two per cent margin of error with a 95 percent degree of confidence.
The poll, paid for by the Nation Media Group, shows that 47 per cent – mostly from Central and Rift Valley – associate themselves with the DP’s promise to offer financial empowerment to ordinary Kenyans as a means of spurring economic growth.
Of the population that backs the model, 48 percent are men, while 45 are women. It resonates more with the youth aged 18-24 at 54 percent, and 50 percent for the 25-29 and 30-35 age brackets. Dr Ruto has tried to endear himself to most unemployed youths by promising to allocate billions of shillings for start-ups.
At least 61 percent of the respondents are excited about Raila’s proposed Sh6,000 per month cash transfer programme. It has received positive response on the Coast at 51 per cent, and resonate with another 46 percent of Kenyans sampled in Western.
Mr Odinga has consistently stated that the programme is doable, even as he fights off critics who have labelled it a populist promise for political expediency.
According to the plan, the money would be channelled to two million of the poorest households. It seeks to reach eight million Kenyans, assuming each household has four members.
Also Read: Why DP must pick deputy from Mt Kenya
At least 63 percent of the population in Central associates with the model, while in Rift Valley, 62 perceive it as a practical solution in addressing the gap between the rich and the poor. The two regions are perceived strongholds of Dr Ruto, with his win in the succession race largely pegged on them. The campaign agenda has the least acceptance in Nyanza and a majority of Mr Odinga’s perceived strongholds.
Interestingly, Western, which Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi and Ford Kenya boss Moses Wetang’ula are expected to deliver to DP Ruto, has also failed to support it, with only 34 percent identifying with the model.
In Eastern, at least 46 percent resonate with the agenda while in Nairobi 41 percent are also enthusiastic about it. Approval rating of the model stands at 39 percent in North Eastern and 35 percent in Coast.
DP Ruto has framed a hustler versus dynasties narrative contest in the August 9 polls in what has put him in a collision path with President Uhuru Kenyatta and Mr Odinga, who have accused him of promoting a handout economy.
At least 61 percent of the respondents in the survey are excited about Raila’s proposed 6000 per month cash transfer program.
It has also received positive response in the coast at 51 percent approval rating while another 46 per of Kenyans sampled from Western also resonate with it. In Nairobi, 43 percent backs it while 40 percent from North Eastern also think it is a good program to support the poor.
The ambitious programme that will is estimated to cost the country an estimated Sh137 billion is, however, least embraced in Central at 17 percent only. Rift Valley, another Ruto backyard, has also not bought the idea with only 21 percent of the population thinking that it is viable.
Mr Odinga has consistently stated that the programme was doable, even as he fought off critics who have labelled it a populist promise for political expediency.
According to the plan, the money would be channelled to two million of the poorest households. It seeks to reach a total of eight million Kenyans assuming that each household is made up of four members.