Prime Minister Raila Odinga will secure a first round victory if the presidential election was held today, says a new opinion poll released on Friday.
The poll by Infotrak Research shows Mr Odinga of the Coalition for Reform and Democracy (Cord) would have garnered 51 per cent against Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta of Jubilee Coalition with 39 per cent of the votes.
It means the Cord team is running 12 percentage points ahead of the Jubilee coalition.
The findings came only 51 days to the General Election, a period within which political parties are expected to launch major campaigns that could tilt the balance in their favour.
The latest poll, conducted between December 28 last year and January 2, did not capture the impact of the official launch of Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi’s presidential campaign and the move by New Ford Kenya leader to join the Amani coalition.
The poll showed that the UDF leader would have tied at three per cent with Mr Peter Kenneth of the Eagle coalition.
Narc Kenya’s Martha Karua and her Restore and Build Kenya counterpart James ole Kiyiapi would have trailed with 0.3 per cent and 0.1 per cent respectively.
According to the poll, Cord is the most popular coalition with 49 per cent of the respondents supporting it. Jubilee enjoys 40 per cent of the support followed by UDF that commands three per cent.
Mr Kenneth’s Eagle coalition enjoys two per cent of the national support.
Mr Odinga’s popularity represented a massive jump in ratings compared to recent opinion polls.
In December, the same pollster projected that the PM’s pairing with Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka would have won with 47 percent against a combination of Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto’s 41 per cent.
But in November, Synovate opinion poll showed that Mr Odinga was leading with 33 per cent against Mr Kenyatta’s 26 per cent.
The latest Infotrak poll relied on the provisional Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission data which puts the national voters’ tally at 14.3 million.
It sampled 1,500 respondents randomly distributed in 25 counties.
“These results clearly indicate there is a two-horse race in the coming elections,” said Infotrak chief executive Angela Ambitho.
Ms Ambitho, however, explained that Kenyans might experience changes in the popularity of the presidential aspirants in coming days depending on the style of campaigns employed by the competing coalitions.
“If they use the results we have availed to them through these findings (in the campaigns) then we are likely to see changes here and there,” Ms Ambitho told journalists at a media briefing in her office.
Infotrak also projected that the Cord coalition would have beaten Jubilee in six of the eight old provinces. The poll claimed Mr Odinga’s coalition would have won 56 per cent at the Coast against Jubilee’s 32 per cent, 85 per cent in North Eastern against the rival’s 15 per cent and 61 per cent against Jubilee’s 28 per cent in Eastern.
Cord would have emerged victorious in Western Province with 61 per cent against Jubilee’s three per cent. A similar Cord victory is also projected in Nyanza where the coalition would have won with 82 per cent against Jubilee’s 15.
Mr Odinga’s coalition would also have registered 54 per cent victory in Nairobi against Jubilee’s 37 per cent.
Jubilee coalition would, however, would have beaten Cord in Rift Valley garnering 52 per cent against Cord’s 36 per cent.
Mr Kenyatta’s coalition is also stronger in Central Province with more than 85 per cent of the voters supporting it against 12 per cent of Cord, according to the findings.
Ms Ambitho explained that the race in Nairobi was likely to be tighter while Rift Valley could tilt further towards the Jubilee coalition ahead of the March 4 elections.
On Friday Mr Kenyatta dismissed the opinion poll as political forgery that would be disapproved on the Election Day.
“Only the Kenyan voters will decide who their President will be and not opinion polls,” Mr Kenyatta said.
Mr Mudavadi’s campaign team dismissed the poll as insignificant, saying the DPM will not be intimidated.
“He who pays the piper calls the tune,” Mr Kibisu Kabatesi, the UDF presidential candidate’s spokesman said.
He went on: “They previously manufactured polls to balloon Mr Uhuru Kenyatta’s support now that they have gotten him where they wanted they are now manufacturing figures to bring him down.”