How Kenya’s political opinion polls changed from start to end of 2021

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Raila’s steady rise in national support is a cause of worry for Deputy President William Ruto who is the biggest loser if the latest polls are something to go by.

Despite the many campaigns that he has held across the country and the numerous defectors that UDA has received from other political parties in the past months, the deputy president continues to suffer a decline in his national support.

The former PM improved by over 20 percentage points since the end of the year 2020.

A new poll released by research firm Infotrak on Monday, December 27 placed Raila ahead of Ruto in countrywide popularity with 33 per cent, one above the DP.

According to the poll, Raila is still the most popular presidential candidate in Coast, Western, Nyanza and North-Eastern regions with 48 per cent, 38 per cent, 57 per cent and 33 per cent respectively.

Infotrak had ranked Raila the second most popular candidate with 13 per cent in its 2020 end year poll. In November 2021, he had improved to 25 per cent and is now at 33 per cent.

Ruto, on the other hand, had hit 44 per cent popularity countrywide by 2020 end year but has made a steady decline ever since. He dropped to 34 per cent in November 2021 and now stands at 32 per cent.

Another report by Tiffa released in November also showed that the DP’s popularity has been dropping since June. The poll showed that Dr Ruto enjoys 38 per cent national support followed by Raila at 23 per cent while Mudavadi comes third with 2 per cent.

A poll conducted by Radio Africa Group in July showed that Raila was trailing Ruto by 29 per cent, however, the ODM leader has quickly narrowed down the gap to less than 15 per cent in the recent months.

The feat the pollster and political analysts argue could be because of Raila’s recent campaigns across the country.

“First, the DP’s popularity as a likely (if not certain) presidential candidate, while clearly far greater than that of his closest potential rival, Mr. Odinga, has not significantly increased over the last 16 months, notwithstanding his almost incessant campaign-like activities as well as the more recent string of defections of various elected leaders from other parties,” says Tifa

“As for Mr. Odinga, his initial standing of less than half that of Dr Ruto as recorded in Tifa’s survey of June 2020 has more than recovered following the decline he experienced at the end of 2020 and then earlier this year in June, when it fell to just 8 per cent, now standing at about two-thirds of the DP’s candidate-popularity of 24 per cent vs 38 per cent.”

According to Tifa, Raila’s rise is a surprise considering that there was a steady decline in his ratings between June 2020 and June 2021 (from 15 per cent to 8 per cent) but it has more than rebounded in the current survey (to 23 per cent).

Raila’s popularity in Mt. Kenya is also rising slowly as that of DP Ruto’s dwindle. Even though the region is perceived to be Ruto’s stronghold, the former Prime Minister is taunted to take a fair share of the vote-rich region come August 2022.

According to a survey carried out by Mizanni Africa in 11 the Mount Kenya counties between October 1-13, Raila’s popularity in the region has risen from 5.4 per cent in 2019 to 27.1 per cent in 2021.

Despite the deputy president enjoying massive support in the region, Raila’s quest to climb the mountain is something to worry the DP’s camp.

According to the opinion poll, Ruto enjoys 58.2 per cent support in Mt. Kenya followed by leader Raila at 27.1 per cent and Musalia Mudavadi is third with 5.2 per cent.

In their 2019 poll, the research institute revealed that Ruto was leading as a presidential candidate with 76 per cent as compared to Odinga with 5.4 per cent. This translates to an 18 per cent decline in DP’s popularity in the region.

“Considering some of these aspirants such as Raila and Mudavadi have just started, there might be much more than we can expect. This is a scenario that we can look forward to next year,” said Haron Kiriba, Chief Executive Officer of Mizani Africa.

The deputy president further faces an even bigger challenge in his quest for the presidency, which Tifa says could be complicated by a possible alliance between Mr. Odinga and the other aspirants.

Ruto and Raila have in recent months escalated their vote hunting expeditions in the country holding huge rallies across the country.

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