ODM leader Raila Odinga is trailing Deputy President William Ruto by a substantial margin in Mt Kenya despite sustained efforts to penetrate the region, according to a new opinion poll from Radio Africa.
The poll of 1,000 respondents across eight counties found 57.2 percent said they would vote for Ruto to be President if elections were held today.
Raila had 11.0 percent support followed by Alfred Mutua on 3.8 percent; Musalia Mudavadi on 2.6; Gideon Moi on 1.2; Fred Matiang’i on 0.9; Kivutha Kibwana on 0.5; and Kalonzo Musyoka on 0.3 percent.
The poll’s overall margin of error is 3.1 percent with a 95 percent confidence level.
The randomised poll of respondents over 18 years of age was conducted from October 8 to 10 by telephone interface (CATI) across Embu, Kirinyaga, Laikipia, Nyeri, Murang’a, Kiambu, Nyandarua and Nakuru counties.
The respondents in the survey, financed by Radio Africa Limited, were interviewed in English and Swahili.
However, 17.4 percent of respondents said they thought that Raila would actually win the presidential race, more than those who said they would vote for him, while 57.7 percent said they thought Ruto would win, virtually the same as those who said they would vote for him.
When asked who would be the best presidential running mate for Central Kenya, Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua came out on top with 10.6 percent.
She was followed by TSP leader Mwangi Kiunjuri with 7.9 percent; Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria 7.6; Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru 7.5; Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua 7.2; Peter Kenneth 6.4; Speaker Justin Muturi 6.0; Moses Kuria 5.2; and Health CS Mutahi Kagwe on 4.1 percent.
POLL Preferred presidential candidate in Mount Kenya according to survey between October 8 and 10
A large 94 percent of respondents said they would still vote for their preferred candidate even if the running mate was not from Mt Kenya but 26.3 per cent said they were still undecided on whom they want for running mates.
However it does not appear that Ruto will receive the block vote of Mt Kenya as he did in 2013 and 2017 when he and President Kenyatta received around 90 percent of the Central votes.
Raila has been intensifying his efforts to win votes in the region with sustained town hall and board meetings with politicians, tycoons and youths from the area.
Ruto’s UDA party was also the most popular with 37 percent support compared to 22 percent for Jubilee and four percent for ODM.
The battle for Mt Kenya is further complicated by the large number of undecided voters, with 16.9 percent saying they do not know who they will vote for. A further 26.2 percent said they do not know who will win the State House race irrespective of whom they vote for.
The desire for fresh blood also seems to be influencing the race with 80.4 percent of respondents saying they want a new generation of leaders compared to 8.3 percent who support the old dynasties.
Just like Raila and Ruto, Kalonzo and Mudavadi have also escalated their charm offensive in the region, with each promising to pick running mates from there. So far they seem to have had little impact.
According to the poll, Ruto’s support is stronger among youth aged between 18 and 34 (61.9 per cent).
The preferred running mates for presidential candidates in Central Kenya
Ruto’s support is evenly spread through the whole region but appears strongest in Embu, Murang’a, Nakuru, Nyandarua, Nyeri and Laikipia, where 69.6, 60.2, 59.8, 59.0, 58.7, and 57.1 percent respectively said they will vote for him. Ruto was weakest in Kirinyaga where had 46.2 percent support.
Raila was stronger in Mt Kenya with voters aged between 45 and 55 years 13.3 per cent while only 6.5 percent of those aged between 18 and 24 years said they would vote for the former prime minister.
Raila’s support was strongest in Kirinyaga where 19.2 percent said they would vote for him.
The poll found that 73 per cent of the respondents felt that the high cost of living was the main issue they were facing; 62 percent said unemployment was the biggest concern and 38 percent said corruption. Another 27 percent of respondents identified crime as their main problem, 26 percent said poor healthcare, 17 poor education and 16 poverty.
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