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Most ‘prefer December vote’

Wednesday April 4 2012

Infotrak Harris Research chief executive officer Angela Ambitho. Photo/FILE

Infotrak Harris Research chief executive officer Angela Ambitho. Photo/FILE 

By NATION REPORTER

Most Kenyans prefer a December General Election, two opinion polls have shown.

Separate polls by Ipsos Synovate and Infotrak Harris put those who wish to have the polls in December at 72 and 64 per cent, respectively.

Both firms said they sponsored the polls.

In the Synovate study conducted countrywide between March 23 and 30, this year, only five per cent of the 2,024 respondents want the polls held in August this year.

Interviews for the Infotrak Harris survey were conducted between March 11 and 13, with a sample size of 2,400 respondents in all the eight provinces.

However, 12 per cent of the respondents in both opinion polls want the polls in March next year as has been announced by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

Ms Maggie Ireri, Synovate’s managing director, said preference for a December 2012 poll was high across various parts of the country with the Nyanza region having the highest — at 80 per cent.

It was closely followed by Western (74), Nairobi (73), Rift Valley (73), Coast (69), Central (64) and North Eastern (59).

“The main reason given by those in favour of the December poll as the election date is that this is a less busy period of the year, thus people are available to vote,” Ms Ireri said.

“Twenty eight per cent of Kenyans would like the polls during the school holidays,” she went on.

Another 25 per cent indicated that Kenyans are used to elections in December while 10 per cent say it is better to have elections at the time so that Kenyans can start a new year with a new government.

Adequate time

Ms Ireri said out of those who preferred the March 2013 date, 38 per cent argued that it would allow them adequate time to prepare for the elections, while 12 per cent felt that it was in line with the court ruling.

And in the Infotrak Harris poll, 16 per cent of the 2,400 respondents want the polls held in August this year.

Ms Angela Ambitho, the company’s CEO, said 74 per cent of those who preferred the elections in August stressed the need to adhere and respect the Constitution, while 10 per cent said they wanted to “avoid violence during the holiday season”.

Ms Ambitho said that of those who preferred a December poll, 51 per cent said it was a long holiday and many Kenyans were therefore free to vote, while 44 per cent said Kenyans were used to voting in December.

She said 83 per cent of Kenyans were confident that the IEBC would conduct free and fair elections.

“More males — 88 per cent — than females — 79 per cent — indicated more confidence with IEBC,” she said.

Both pollsters say they commissioned the survey and financed it.

Mr Victor Rateng’, Synovate’s project manager in charge of the polls, said they spent close to Sh300,000 on the survey, cash that was mainly spent on making calls to respondents and paying the researchers.

Ms Ambitho declined to say how much her firm spent. (READ: MPs hold key to December elections)