Raila Odinga now leads in presidential race - Tifa poll

Azimio la UmojaRaila Odinga, Deputy President William Ruto

Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga (left) and Deputy President William Ruto.

Photo credit: Jeff Angote & File | Nation Media Group

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition presidential flag bearer Raila Odinga has shot seven points in under a month to poll 39 per cent, after naming Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua, a new poll has shown.

On the flipside, his main challenger, Deputy President William Ruto, who has named Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua as running mate, has dropped to 35 per cent from 39 per cent three weeks ago.

This is a according to a poll by Trends & Insights for Africa (TIFA) conducted on May 17, one day after Mr Odinga named Ms Karua as running mate, and two days after Dr Ruto announced the Gachagua pick.

The poll sampled 1,719 respondents from across the country, who were interviewed through phone in a poll TIFA said it funded on its own.

The respondents were picked from regions subdivided as Central Rift, Coast, Lower Eastern, Mt Kenya, Nairobi, Northern, Nyanza, South Rift, and Western, and divided as according to the population.

Dr Ruto’s current tally of 35 per cent is a drop from the 38 per cent in November 2021 and February 2022, as well as the 39 per cent in April this year.

For Mr Odinga, it is a steady rise from the 23 per cent in November 2021, 27 per cent in February 2022, and 32 per cent in April, to his current 39 per cent.

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, who has announced a solo run on the day Mr Odinga nominated Ms Karua as running mate, polls two per cent, same as his February 2022 and November 2021 tally.

As of now, no political party attracts the support of more than one-third of Kenyans. 

Dr Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) is at 29 per cent, while Mr Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) is at 25 per cent.

“Aside from a small minority who identify with Jubilee (3 percent), the remainder – just over one-third (37percent) – are yet to decide about their preferred party (13 percent), identify with no party (18 percent), or declined to answer the question (6 percent),” TIFA said in the poll.

The poll also showed that 14 percent of those surveyed are undecided, while 8 percent refused to respond to the question. 

TIFA defended its move to conduct the poll, under one month after its previous one, and on a day after Mr Odinga named Ms Karua as running mate.

“The reason for conducting this survey so soon should be obvious, however: the announcement, in quick succession over the last few days, of the deputy presidential running-mates of the two main presidential candidates – William Ruto and Raila Odinga – followed immediately by the announcement by Kalonzo Musyoka, previously associated with Odinga’s Azimio la Umoja coalition, that he would contest the presidency as well, and the identification of his own running mate,” TIFA said in the poll.

The survey, TIFA said, sought to understand how extensive public knowledge was of the identity of these running-mates, and how, if at all, these developments impacted on the contours of the presidential contest.