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Ahead of Kenya's Election, Top Candidates Virtually Tied

by Magali Rheault and Bob Tortora

Forty-four percent of registered Kenyan voters support Kibaki; 43% support Odinga

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The latest Gallup Poll of Kenyan voters shows the two leading presidential hopefuls are still in a close race, just 10 days before the Dec. 27 election. Results from the Gallup Poll conducted between Dec. 5 and Dec. 14, 2007, show 44% of registered Kenyan voters say they intend to vote for incumbent President Mwai Kibaki from the Party of National Unity (PNU), while 43% say they plan to vote for Raila Odinga, who is running on the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) ticket. Kalonzo Musyoka of the Orange Democratic Movement-Kenya (ODM-K) elicits the support of 12% of registered Kenyan voters.

Gallup conducted its first pre-election poll with Nairobi-based Research Path Associates in late October and early November, voters' intentions in the North Eastern, Rift Valley, and Western provinces have shifted considerably. In the North Eastern province, 51% of voters say they intend to cast their ballot for Kibaki, up from 15% in the previous poll. The Western province is still firmly in Odinga's grasp, as 62% say they plan to vote for him, but the ODM candidate has lost nine points there and the PNU candidate has gained six points. In the Rift Valley, the gap between the two leading candidates has also narrowed from 10 points to 6 points.

Although support for Kibaki in the Central province is down four points from the previous poll, the province remains Kibaki's stronghold, as 88% of respondents indicate they intend to vote for him. Support for Odinga appears well anchored in Nyanza, as 86% of registered voters plan to cast their ballot for him, up five points from the previous poll.

Odinga maintains a slight edge over Kibaki among voters in Nairobi, with 41% of registered voters supporting Kibaki and 49% supporting Odinga. In the Coast province, Odinga has a 38-point lead over Kibaki, similar to the previously observed gap. The Eastern province remains divided between Kibaki (48%) and Musyoka (46%).

Gallup's analysis of voters' intentions along ethnic lines reveals several important changes. In the latest poll, 94% of Merus say they intend to vote for Kibaki and 63% of Kisiis plan to cast their ballot for Odinga; both readings represent a 10-point increase from the previous poll. More than 8 in 10 Kambas (83%) are planning to vote for Musyoka, compared with 78% in the previous poll. Ninety-three percent of Luos say they intend to vote for Odinga and 92% of Kikuyus plan to cast their ballot for Kibaki; both percentages are unchanged from the previous readings.

Survey Methods

Results are based on face-to-face interviews with 2,000 registered voters between Dec. 5, 2007, and Dec. 14, 2007, in Kenya. Previous poll results were based on face-to-face interviews with 2,000 registered voters between Oct. 25, 2007, and Nov. 10, 2007, in Kenya. The interviews were conducted in 400 Primary Sampling Units allocated proportionally to the population aged 18 and older in the eight Kenyan provinces. A random route procedure was used to select households and each household, the Kish Grid was used to select a registered voter randomly. For results based on the total sample of registered voters, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

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