Ruto and Raila locked in a dead heat race as 2022 elections near

Raila and Ruto

ODM party Leader Raila Odinga (left) and Deputy President William Ruto (right). A poll by Infotrak shows the ODM leader has gained more support from potential voters and is now popular than the deputy president.

Photo credit: Silas Kiplagat and Francis Nderitu | Nation Media Group

Deputy President William Ruto and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader Raila Odinga are locked in a dead heat race and would likely tie if the General Election was held today, an opinion poll by Infotrak has revealed.

Eight months to the polls, the Infotrak survey released yesterday gave Mr Odinga a one-point lead over his presumed main rival, Dr Ruto.

The opinion poll conducted between December 17 and 21 this year shows a big improvement in Mr Odinga’s fortunes, coming hot on the heels of his Azimio la Umoja convention in which he officially announced his presidential candidature.

Thousands of Raila Odinga supporters flock to Kasarani Stadium for Azimio la Umoja convention

The poll by Infotrak shows the ODM leader has gained more support from potential voters and is now popular than the deputy President, who has been on the campaign trail longer than all other presidential aspirants.

The survey covered 26 counties from all the eight former administrative regions. The poll shows Mr Odinga’s popularity stood at 33 percent, while that of Dr Ruto was 32 percent as at December 2021.

Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi and Kalonzo Musyoka of Wiper Democratic Movement command a one percent popularity rating each.

 Infotrak poll raila ruto uda election
Photo credit: Courtesy | Infotrak

Other presidential candidates mentioned by those interviewed include Martha Karua, William Kabogo, Mwangi Wa Iria and Reuben Kigame.

Four percent of the interviewees said they would not vote, seven percent declined to answer, whereas 21 percent are undecided on a presidential candidate of choice. Infotrak Chief Executive Officer Angela Ambitho said the survey indicates that the 2022 poll expected to produce President Uhuru Kenyatta’s successor will be a two-horse race between Dr Ruto and Mr Odinga.

“[Mr] Odinga would win the presidential elections if the polls were held today. He would beat [Dr] Ruto, but by a [small] margin,” said Ms Ambitho.

Raila's popularity growing, Ruto's declined

Mr Odinga’s approval rating has grown from 13 percent in December 2020, to the current 33 percent. The poll shows that the former premier’s popularity has increased whereas that of the DP has decreased by 12 percentage points.

William Ruto

Deputy President William Ruto addresses wananchi at Mukurweini town in Nyeri County on December 4, 2021.

Photo credit: Joseph Kanyi | Nation Media Group

According to the poll, Dr Ruto’s popularity has decreased from 44 percent in December 2020 to 34 percent in November 2021 and to the current 32 percent as at December 2021.

Mr Odinga's popularity, on the other hand, has increased from 13 percent in December 2020, to 25 percent in November 2021 to the current 33 percent.

Political analysts say Mr Odinga’s popularity may have risen because of his recent announcement heightened political campaigns.

“The poll shows Mr Odinga’s popularity climbed to 33 per cent after the Azimio event at Kasarani. Declaring his bid must have added to his popularity,” said lawyer Steve Kabita.

Political allies of both Dr Ruto and Mr Odinga in separate interviews told Nation the poll was reflective of the current political alignments.

“I may not agree with the poll fully but it is true that UDA is the most popular party in Kenya and is the party of the future,” said Bahati MP Kimani Ngunjiri, a close ally of the deputy president.

Bahati MP Kimani Ngunjiri

Bahati MP Kimani Ngunjiri.

Photo credit: File | Cheboite Kigen | Nation Media Group

“Soon, you will see more people all over the country wanting to be part of UDA,” he said, adding he expects Dr Ruto’s popularity “to be far much ahead of Mr Odinga by the time the country goes to the elections.”

Nakuru Town West MP, Samuel Arama, an Odinga ally, said the poll reflected the current political reality: “The poll revealed the true situation, [Mr] Odinga and ODM will gain more popularity in the coming months.”

“Ruto had more supporters before Mr Odinga declared his candidature. You can clearly see that his [Mr Odinga’s] popularity has shot up since he declared that he is running for President.”

Popular parties

Infotrak popular parties uda odm jubilee
Photo credit: Courtesy | Infotrak

According to the survey, the two most popular political parties in the country are the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) and the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM). A third (33 percent) of Kenyans interviewed said they support UDA, while 32 percent said ODM is their party of choice.

The poll shows that the ruling Jubilee Party’s popularity has dwindled to a paltry 2 percent.

The party has in the past been rocked by wrangles sparked by differences between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Dr Ruto.

Ford Kenya, Maendeleo Chap Chap, Narc Kenya, Kanu and Muungano Party share one percent popularity. The poll shows that the DP remains the most popular presidential aspirant in vote-rich Central, with 42 percent popularity followed by Raila who has a 16 percent. Mr Odinga is more popular in Coast (48 percent), North Eastern (33 percent), Western (38 percent) and Nyanza (57 percent).

Dr Ruto, on the other hand commands higher support in Eastern (39 percent), Central (42 percent), his backyard Rift Valley (42 percent) and Nairobi where he has 32 percent support.

According to the poll, Mr Odinga is more attractive to male voters than females. The survey indicates 39 percent of males support his bid, whereas 26 females back his presidency.

More females (31 percent) support Dr Ruto’s candidature, with 34 percent males saying he is their candidate of choice.

The poll also revealed that Dr Ruto is more attractive to youths between 18 and 35 years.

Mr Odinga, on the other hand, is more appealing to those aged above 36 years.

The survey also reveals that both presidential hopefuls have equal popularity in urban and rural areas.

Mr Odinga has 33 percent urban support and 32 percent backing in the rural areas, whereas DP Ruto commands 32 percent popularity in urban areas and 33 percent in rural areas.

OKA dissolution

OKA principals

OKA principals Cyrus Jirongo, Moses Wetangula, Musalia Mudavadi, Kalonzo Musyoka and Gideon Moi in Kakamega on October 29, 2021. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

According to the poll, majority of Kenyans (52 percent) feel the One Kenya Alliance (OKA) that brings together Mr Mudavadi, Mr Musyoka, Kanu’s Gideon Moi and Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetangula should be dissolved to back either DP Ruto or Mr Odinga.

Twenty percent of respondents felt OKA should not be dissolved.

More than half (55 percent) of the respondents feel OKA should support Mr Odinga, while the other 45 percent want the political alliance to support Mr Ruto.

Majority of Kenyans (46 percent) feel Mr Mudavadi should be considered for the running mate position by either Mr Raila or Dr Ruto. He is the most preferred running mate, in the event of OKA’s dissolution.

The survey revealed that the most preferred presidential candidate for OKA is Mr Mudavadi.

Only 20 percent of those interviewed support Mr Musyoka to fly the OKA presidential ticket, 11 percent Mr Moi and six percent Mr Wetangula.

Download the Infotrak Survey below:

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