73 per cent of fence-sitters would vote Yes, new poll says - Daily Nation
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73 per cent of fence-sitters would vote Yes, new opinion poll says

Friday July 23 2010

PHOEBE OKALL | NATION Synovate lead researcher Tom Wolf addresses journalists when releasing results of a survey on the referendum for the proposed draft constitution on Friday.

PHOEBE OKALL | NATION Synovate lead researcher Tom Wolf addresses journalists when releasing results of a survey on the referendum for the proposed draft constitution on Friday. 

By NATION Team [email protected]

If undecided people were to vote today, 73 per cent would vote ‘Yes’, a new opinion poll shows.

Two opinion polls also show that ‘Yes’ would win the referendum if it was held today.

The margins of victory in polls conducted between July 11 to 17 and July 16 to 19 are different.

While Synovate said ‘Yes’ gained 58 per cent of votes and ‘No’ only 22 per cent, Infotrak Research and Consulting projected 65 per cent and 25 per cent for the sides, respectively.

With 11 days to the polls, Synovate said 17 per cent of voters were undecided compared to Infotrak’s 10 per cent, a drop of 6 per cent from its May poll.

According to Synovate, if the decided voters were to cast their ballot today, 73 per cent would approve the proposed constitution, while 27 per cent would reject it.

A 70 per cent voter turnout would see the same result in favour of the Green camp.

Lot of campaigns

Last week’s Strategic Research survey put the ‘Yes’ vote at 62 per cent and ‘No’ vote at 20 per cent with 18 per cent undecided.

The ‘No’ team has swayed undecided voters when Infotrak put its support at 21 per cent and ‘Yes’ team support at 63 per cent.

Infotrak partnered with the Centre for Multiparty Democracy to interview 2,450 registered voters in the latest poll with a two per cent margin of error.

Both Synovate, which polled 6,005 Kenyans, and Infotrak attributed the increase of ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ ratings to intensified campaigns by politicians, Committee of Experts and civil society.

Infotrak chief executive Angela Mbitho said: “Both proponents have recently held a lot of campaigns with President Kibaki leading the ‘Yes’ top brass and Minister William Ruto and former President Moi the ‘No’ side.”

“The ‘Yes’ team is now using all systems up to the grassroots,” Ms Ambitho said, adding that ‘Yes’ will obviously have a majority of 50 per cent plus one if they kept up the tempo.

About two-thirds of the remaining undecided voters are women, which means campaigning may focus around women’s issues in the run-up to the vote, she said.

The main reasons for voting ‘Yes’ in the Infotrak poll included devolution of power, better representation of people and land issues.

In the Synovate survey, the supporters listed better governance, a better document and desire to exercise one’s rights as their motive for voting.

Those intending to vote ‘No’ held up abortion, unfair representation and a limitation on land holding acreage as the main reasons for voting ‘No’ in the Infotrak poll.

The Infotrak poll shows Eastern and parts of the Rift Valley had the highest percentages of ‘No’ voters with 28 and 37 per cent respectively.

Northeastern and Nyanza claimed the highest percentage of those planning to vote ‘Yes’ with 88 and 84 per cent respectively.

Voters in Coast, Western, Central and Nairobi tended to support the proposed constitution, with between 60 and 73 per cent of voters saying they would vote ‘Yes.’

The Synovate figures showed the ‘Yes’ team commands a large following in 54 of the 71 districts that existed before 2003. The ‘No’ team has predominant support in seven of the districts — all in the Rift Valley while the two camps share support in six of the areas.

“From this, you can say that nearly the whole country is Green,” Synovate managing director George Waititu said. Synovate numbers in the provinces, indicating ‘Yes’ support, were: North Eastern (73 per cent), Western (66 per cent), Central (62 per cent), Nairobi (61 per cent), Coast (61 per cent), Eastern (49 per cent) and Rift Valley (40 per cent).

The ‘No’ vote stood at: Rift Valley (38 per cent), Eastern (28 per cent), Nairobi (17 per cent), Coast (16 per cent), Central (16 per cent), Western (13 per cent), North Eastern (13 per cent) and Nyanza (7 per cent).

The data shows that 82 per cent of Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s supporters would vote ‘Yes’ while the Greens under President Kibaki are 61 per cent.

Mr Kenyatta’s supporters who are behind his ‘Yes’ crusade have risen from 50 to 59 per cent between May and July. Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka is the only ‘Yes’ leader who has less than 50 per cent of his supporters behind him.

In the Red camp, 73 per cent of Mr Ruto’s supporters would vote No.

The poll results show that most Christians will vote ‘Yes’ as would Muslims and the youth.

Christians aged 54 and above were most likely to vote ‘No,’ Infotrak said.

By Lucas Barasa, Oliver Mathenge and Andrew Doughman