Poll shows Uhuru gaining popularity in Cord strongholds


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President Uhuru Kenyatta with his deputy
President Uhuru Kenyatta with his deputy William Ruto at Lwakhakha Market in Bungoma in November 14, 2015. New Ipsos poll shows Western Kenya approval of President Kenyatta’s presidency is at 52 per cent. FIL PHOTO | PSCU

President Uhuru Kenyatta is gaining popularity in perceived Cord strongholds, latest Ipsos poll shows.

In what is likely to generate heated debate among the political class over the latest findings, the poll shows that Cord strongholds of Coast and Western approve of Mr Kenyatta’s presidency with the former at 66 per cent and the latter at 52 per cent.

President Kenyatta also scores favourably in North Eastern (58 per cent) and Nairobi (57 per cent). His approval ratings are lowest in the Cord stronghold of Nyanza at only 30 per cent.

Those who approve of Mr Kenyatta’s performance cite infrastructure development (31 per cent), education (15 per cent), economy (13 per cent) and corruption (8 per cent).

Those who dismiss his performance cite his lackluster fight against corruption (39 per cent), poor economy (19 per cent), lack of infrastructure (6 per cent) and failure to fight terrorism (6 per cent).

The poll shows that 90 per cent of those who feel Kenya is headed in the right direction also approve of President Kenyatta’s performance with only 6 per cent thinking otherwise.

“Yet on the other hand, nearly half of those holding a negative view regarding the country’s direction likewise give the President approval (49 per cent). To put it another way, while nearly all of those who feel Kenya is headed in “the right direction” also approve of his recent performance (90 per cent), not even half of those who feel the country’s direction is “wrong” fault his recent performance (44 per cent), the pollsters explain.

“Such a contradiction underscores two key questions… One is, how much of the support enjoyed by such a political leader rests upon identity rather than (attributed) performance? The other is, given the reduced/shared powers of the presidency under the new constitution, how much credit or blame should the president be given for the (perceived) performance of the (national) government as a whole?,” they state.

President Kenyatta’s approval ratings rose to 68 per cent over the last three months, up from 47 per cent last November.

The poll, conducted by Ipsos between conducted between June 4 and June 18, shows that only 31 per cent of those interviewed disapproved of Mr Kenyatta’s leadership.

The approval rating was highest among supporters of the Jubilee coalition at 85 per cent, up from 73 per cent in November last year.

In terms of confidence levels in the national government, 73 per cent of the respondents said they either have “a lot” or “some” confidence in President Kenyatta, as opposed to 59 per cent who said they had either “a lot” or some” confidence in deputy president William Ruto.

Fifty per cent of those interviewed said they have “a lot” or “some” confidence in the current Cabinet while 44 per cent said the same of Attorney General Githu Muigai.


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