Kenya election: Pollsters predict Raila ahead of Ruto by a narrow margin 

By Victor Abuso
Posted on Thursday, 14 July 2022 17:54

Top presidential contenders Raila Odinga (lt) and William Ruto (rt) (photo: TAR)

With less than a month to Kenya’s presidential elections, the latest survey by two leading opinion polls puts Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Coalition presidential candidate Raila Odinga ahead by a narrow lead.

A poll conducted by TIFA Research shows that Raila is leading with about 42% compared to Ruto’s 39% in results released on 4 July.

A survey from InfoTrak, whose results were released on 13 July, also shows Raila ahead with 43%, followed by Ruto at 37%.

“[Raila] Odinga’s popularity has increased by 1% and Ruto’s has gone down by 1% from 38% last time,” says Angela Ambitho, InfoTrak CEO.

According to both polls, the two leading candidates are unlikely to either pass the 50% plus one vote target nationally, or the quarter of ballots cast in half of Kenya’s 47 counties to win the presidency in the first round, as per the constitution.

However, Tom Wolf, a lead researcher at TIFA, says the other two presidential candidates – George Wajackoyah of the Roots Party of Kenya and David Mwaure of Agano Party – are also gaining popularity across the country, so much so that neither Raila nor Ruto will win the first round.

Candidates dismiss polls

Ruto has dismissed the results of the polls, terming them as fake and claiming that they are sponsored by his opponents.

“We shall defeat them, with their fake opinion polls,” he told supporters during a political rally in Western Kenya.

READ MORE [I] will accept the outcome of the election whichever way it goes

In June, Ruto claimed that the opinion polls showing that he was trailing Raila was part of a scheme to rig the 9 August elections.

“They have tried all means. All that is left is the use of fake opinion polls and spread of propaganda that they shall steal my votes,” he said.

However, Raila and his allies also say the opinion polls are not correctly predicting the outcome. They believe that Raila will clinch the presidency with more than 60% of the vote nationally.

It will be difficult to influence voters at this time, they have settled on their preferred candidate

In June, Karanja Kibicho, the interior principal secretary, was quoted by Citizen TV saying that according to data by the National Intelligence Service, Raila will win with 60% of votes, remarks that were criticised by Ruto’s camp.

Peter Kenneth, another ally of Raila, is also convinced that his preferred candidate is likely to carry the day with between 60% and 65% of the vote.

Presidential debate impact

With the presidential debate scheduled to take place on 26 July, political observers are expecting the current trends in popularity among the top candidates to change slightly, depending on how they perform during the debate.

However, Kevin Ochol, a Nairobi-based political analyst, says the majority of Kenyan voters have already decided who they will vote for, and neither polls nor the presidential debate can change their minds.

“It will be difficult to influence voters at this time, they have settled on their preferred candidate,” he says.

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