The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Uhuru Clear Winner of Presidential TV Debate

DEPUTY Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta won the Monday presidential debate and politically gained the most, according to the latest Ipsos Synovate poll.

The opinion poll surveyed 1,074 respondents who had watched the debate broadcast on all TV stations and said they were registered voters.

Conducted a day later, the poll shows that Uhuru led with 40 per cent while his closest rival Raila Odinga scored 33 per cent. Peter Kenneth came third with 7 per cent, Musalia Mudavadi fourth with 4 per cent and Martha Karua fifth with 2 per cent.

Before the poll, 37 per cent of the respondents supported Uhuru while 35 per cent backed Raila. In other words, Raila lost two per cent after the debate while Uhuru gained three. Ipsos Synovate MD Maggie Ireri and researcher Tom Wolf cautioned that the poll was not fully scientific.

"The sample is not nationally representative. The base of respondents is drawn from those who watched or listened to the debate. It is also instructive to note that the debate was conducted in English and thereby cut off many voters who may not have understood the language," Ireri said.

On who was best in the debate, 37 per cent said Uhuru, 23 per cent Raila, 15 per cent Kenneth, and Karua 8 per cent. Abduba Dida tied with Mudavadi at 4 per cent. Paul Muite got 2 per cent and James ole Kiyiapi 1 per cent.

A significant figure of 24 per cent said they had changed their mind after the debate "Does this mean the debates will have an influence in the elections? I think yes, but a little. And therefore before the next debate we may see the candidates preparing themselves more thoroughly," Wolf said.

Of the 135 previoulsy undecided respondents in the poll, about 75 per cent made up their minds in the debate. Around 44 per cent went to Uhuru,Peter Kenneth took 17 per cent, Raila 16, Mudavadi 6 and Karua 4. Another 6 per cent remain undecided while 7 per cent refused to answer.

Kenneth won the tribalism question, Uhuru on ICC, security and crime, Karua health, Raila party politics and Kiyiapi education.

The margin of error was given at plus or minus 3 per cent. A total of 43 out of 47 counties were sampled. Ipsos Synovate financed it.

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