26 February 2013

Kenya: Uhuru Emerged Top in Debate - Poll

Nairobi — An opinion poll released by Consumer Insight research firm says Jubilee Alliance Uhuru Kenyatta emerged the main gainer, while Peter Kenneth and Martha Karua were losers in Monday night's presidential debate.

The poll after the debate says that Kenyatta scored 33 percent while Cord's Raila Odinga scored 25 percent points. Kenneth came in third at 18 percent, Mohammed Dida 10 percent and Karua 7 percent.

The firm's Research Analyst Stella Nyagah says Kenyatta was the only candidate who converted a significant number of viewers into his voters.

"Despite threatening to boycott the debate, Kenyatta did very well considering that the issues that were being debated he was seen to be one of the victim's and hence his handling of the matter could have stood him in good stead with the viewers because they think this guy has handled himself very well in the face of all those challenges and still convince them that he is the man for the job," she explained.

"When you compare to what we are seeing in the other opinion polls, Kenneth and Dida are not as popular in those polls as they are in the debates. When you make that comparison you realise that voters may admire certain candidate's ability in the debates but that may not translate to votes," Nyagah said.

The poll shows Kenyatta had gained 5 points, Odinga lost 1 point, Kenneth lost 1 point while all the other candidates' rating remained unchanged.

Before the poll, the Jubilee Alliance had 33 percent which increased to 38 percent after the debate. Odinga had 38pc but polled 37pc after the debate. Kenneth had 14 percent but end up dropping 2 points after the debate.

Nyagah said that their poll revealed that Kenyatta enjoyed more support from women (36 percent) than men (32 percent) while Odinga enjoyed more support from men (28 percent) than women (20 percent)

The poll which was conducted after Monday's debate targeted 1,044 respondents who form a list of panellists registered on the firm's Voices Africa.com. The poll was conducted through a Computer Assisted Telephone Interviews.

Nyagah explains that Kenyatta supporters listed uniting Kenyans, best communicator, best policies and courage as attributes that attracted them to him.

Odinga scored highly on understanding the problems of the ordinary citizens and will to unite Kenyans. But Nyagah states that other factors outside the debate are likely to have influenced the overall performance scores.

"Given what happened in 2007/8, Kenyans have been giving the impression that they will need someone who can unite the country but if you look at the poll maybe Kenyans are not looking for a candidate who will unite them, may be they are looking for a candidate who is courageous, has good policies and can communicate very well," said the research analyst.

"Maybe it's even matters outside of these attributes or outside of this debate that will determine who takes the day," Nyagah added.

Kenneth was found to be honest and trustworthy. Dida ranked highly on honesty.


Laban Wanambisi is a Parliamentary and Political reporter. He joined the Capital Newsteam in 2005. Since then, he has reported on many of the major news events over the years including his first major assignment covering the 2005 National Referendum on the Draft Constitution, and several other subsequent key national and international events.

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