A new political poll has called into question the political future of former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

Raila has lost 40 percent of his support since the March 2013 election while President Uhuru Kenyatta has consolidated his position, according to a new survey by Ipsos (formerly known as Steadman Synovate).

Only 60 percent of those who voted for Raila for president in 2013 would do so today, according to the Ipsos poll ( see graph and analysis on Page II of Siasa inside).

Raila has lost 14 percent of his voters to Uhuru, 6 percent to Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, 2 percent to Cord principal Moses Wetangula, and 1 each to William Ruto, Peter Kenneth, Alfred Mutua and Mike Sonko. Ten percent said they did not know who they would know vote for, were undecided or did not answer.

At the same time, Uhuru has consolidated his standing with 48 percent of respondents saying they would vote for him as president if an election was held today. Only 25 percent said they would vote for Raila.

Just before the presidential election in March 2013, opinion polls showed Raila and Uhuru running neck and neck, each with about 46 percent support.

Apart from the two front runners for president, this latest Ipsos poll gave William Ruto 6 percent support and Kalonzo 3 percent while Wetangula, Peter Kenneth, Musalia Mudavadi, and Abduda Dida each got 1 percent.

The Ipsos poll was conducted between November 6 and 14 with 2005 respondents interviewed face to face at the household level with a 2.2 percent margin of error.

It was part of a regular quarterly survey but the questions relating to the presidential rankings and Raila’s future were paid for by the Star.

The Ipsos poll also shows that three times as many Kenyans want Raila to stand down as want to him run again in the 2017 presidential election.

Only 23 percent of respondents said that Raila should vie again in 2017 if he wants to defeat Jubilee.

While 21 percent said Raila should retire from politics completely, 40 percent of respondents said he should drop his presidential bid but come out openly to back his preferred candidate.

Even among those who voted for Raila in the 2013 election, 42 percent said he should not run for president but support another candidate. Another 8 percent of those who voted for Raila said he should quit politics completely, compared to 33 percent of those who voted for Uhuru.

“This shows that people prefer Raila to be the kingmaker to him being the king himself,” said Aggrey Oriwo, Managing Director of Ipsos.

However voters in Nyanza and Coast are still keen for Raila to run for president in 2017 with 47 and 42 percent support respectively. In Western, only 27 percent said Raila should run for president again but a considerable 54 percent said he should endorse a preferred candidate.

Central had the highest percentage, 36 percent, of voters wanting Raila to retire completely but even in Nyanza 13 percent thought he should quit politics.

However one complication is that there appears to be no clear successor to Raila. Those who want to endorse another presidential candidate do not seem to know who that person should be. Their preferences outside Raila and Uhuru range from 5 percent for William Ruto, 4 percent for Kalonzo Musyoka, and 1 percent for Wetangula, Kenneth, Mudavadi, Mutua, Sonko and Boni Khalwale.

So even if the going looks tough for Raila, there is still no obvious alternative to him as the leader of the opposition. There may still be time for Raila to make one of his legendary recoveries.

– the-star.co.ke

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