Poll: Raila and Uhuru in tight contest

The managing director Ipsos Synovate, Maggie Ireri during the release of an opinion poll May 1, 2012. The survey showed that Prime Minister Raila Odinga and his deputy Uhuru Kenyatta are in a neck and neck race for the presidency. JENNIFER MUIRURI

The next General Election promises to be a closely contested affair with the latest opinion poll showing Prime Minister Raila Odinga and his deputy Uhuru Kenyatta in a neck and neck race.

According to the findings of the poll released Tuesday by Ipsos Synovate, a runoff between the Mr Odinga and Mr Kenyatta would result in a tie, with both receiving 44 percent of the votes cast if elections were held today.

A further 12 percent said they were undecided.

The pollster's managing director Maggie Ireri said the PM had narrowed the three point gap that had been opened by Mr Kenyatta in October last year.

At the time, Mr Kenyatta had 44 percent against Mr Odinga’s 41 percent.

Ms Ireri said the PM would post narrow wins against other potential contenders for the presidency in the elections.

Should the runoff contest be between Mr Odinga and Local Government minister Musalia Mudavadi, the PM would garner 43 percent against the Sabatia MP’s 41 percent.

Again, 15 percent said they were uncertain on how to vote.

Mr Mudavadi, who recently abandoned ODM, is expected to announce the new political vehicle he intends to use to ascend to the country’s leadership on Wednesday.

And in a contest between the PM and Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, Mr Odinga would garner 46 percent against the VP’s 41 percent with 13 percent being undecided.

Other scenarios are – Mr Odinga’s 46 percent against Narc Kenya’s Martha Karua’s 39 percent with 15 percent still undecided, the PM’s 48 percent against William Ruto of the United Republican Party’s 33 percent with 19 percent undecided.

Ms Ireri said the proportion of undecided voters, which remains high, will play a major role in tilting the presidential contest.

“This is because should they decide, they can swing the runoff vote either way,” she told journalists.

According to the poll, even though Mr Mudavadi has quit the Orange party, where he was the Deputy Party Leader, 21 percent of Kenyans believe that he and the PM still make up the best pair for president and running mate.

Ranked second is a joint ticket of Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto (nine percent), Mr Kenyatta and Mr Musyoka (8 percent), Mr Ruto and Kenyatta (7 percent), Mr Odinga and Ms Karua (5 percent).

Within the G7 alliance, the most preferred pairing is that of Mr Kenyatta and Ruto.

Mr Odinga still remains the most preferred presidential candidate with 34 percent of Kenyans indicating they would vote for him. 22 percent of Kenyans would vote for Mr Kenyatta, the VP (9 percent), Mr Ruto (8 percent), Ms Karua (5 percent).

Ms Ireri said the ratings for Mr Mudavadi, who had previously polled at least one percent has now gained five percentage points.

She said that in the absence of Mr Ruto and Kenyatta from the ballot, Mr Odinga would still remain the preferred candidate at 34 percent, followed by the VP at 19 percent.