Raila still leads in opinion poll

By JOHN NGIRACHU jngirachu@ke.nationmedia.com  ( email the author)

Posted  Saturday, February 16  2013 at  00:30

In Summary

  • Infotrak survey says 11 pc of voters changed their mind after exchange
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Cord is still the most popular coalition followed closely by Jubilee but the gap is closing, a new opinion poll released on Friday shows.

The poll by Infotrak shows that the alliance led by Prime Minister Raila Odinga had the support of 46 per cent of respondents while Jubilee whose presidential flagbearer is Uhuru Kenyatta follows closely with 43 per cent.

Speaking on Friday, the firm’s chief executive Angela Ambitho revealed that 11.1 per cent of the people they interviewed changed their minds after Monday’s presidential debate.

Only 194 of the 1,650 respondents the firm interviewed said their choice of presidential candidate had changed.

About 44.6 per cent said they would vote for Mr Odinga and 42.4 per cent for Mr Kenyatta as president.

Limit debaters

The number of presidential candidates participating in the televised debate should be limited to the top two or three in opinion polls to make it more practical and productive, the pollster suggested.

She said with fewer candidates, there would be more time for each to answer the questions in greater detail and explain their stand on issues. The moderators and viewers would also have time to ask follow-up questions.

“Perhaps it is necessary to limit the debate to them (the top candidates),” said Ms Ambitho. “If you want to be fair, let’s say three. With eight candidates, is it a debate or a discussion?”

Ms Ambitho said the 1,650 people interviewed were registered voters identified before the debate but were interviewed on the phone after the discussion.

Most of those who said they had changed their choice of candidate after watching the exchange were from North Eastern at 17.9 per cent.

Western (16.4 per cent), Rift Valley (12.9 per cent), Coast (11.9 per cent) and Central (10.7 per cent) were the other areas where significant percentages of respondents changed their minds.

The Infotrak poll found that Mr Odinga enjoys majority support in percentages in six of the eight provinces; Coast (66), North Eastern (58), Eastern (43), Western (50), Nyanza (90) and Nairobi (58).

Mr Kenyatta has the upper hand in Central at 89 per cent and in the Rift Valley at 62 per cent.

His support, in percentages, in the rest of the provinces is; Coast (27), North Eastern (33), Eastern (43), Western (7), Nyanza (8) and Nairobi (30).

Of the other six candidates, only Musalia Mudavadi has a foothold in any of the eight provinces, with 38 per cent of those interviewed in Western Province saying they would vote for him.

In the United States, their Commission for Presidential Debates has set a 15 per cent score in opinion polls as the threshold for participation in the main debate.

Monday night’s session appeared more like an opportunity for the candidates to make rehearsed statements, said Ms Ambitho, rather than go into detailed plans on the issues raised.

Candidates were asked about tribalism and negative ethnicity, the International Criminal Court question, foreign policy and national security and education at the first debate.

The next debate is scheduled for February 25.

Mr Odinga and Mr Kenyatta have also had the largest share of social media conversations over the last 30 days, Nation’s elections sentiment tracker released on Thursday shows.

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