Kenyan Presidential Candidate Odinga Holds Lead: Ipsos Synovate

Kenyan presidential candidate Prime Minister Raila Odinga held his lead over deputy premier Uhuru Kenyatta, as voter support jumped for each of the men, according to an Ipsos-Synovate survey.

Odinga is backed by 46 percent of likely voters, compared with 34 percent last month, while Kenyatta is preferred by 40 percent, up from 27 percent, Ipsos-Synovate political research analyst Tom Wolf told reporters in the capital Nairobi today. The next closest challenger Musalia Mudavadi, a co-deputy prime minister, is supported by 5 percent and the rest split by at least three other candidates, Wolf said.

The poll of 5,895 registered voters was conducted Jan. 12 to Jan. 20 with a margin of error of plus or minus 1.28 percentage points. The poll showed no candidate has the more than 50 percent support required to avoid a second round.

“The remaining 14 percent seems to be enough to prevent anyone from winning in the first round,” Wolf said.

Kenya’s national elections set for March 4 are being seen as test of the East African nation’s stability after ethnic and political violence at the last vote five years ago killed more than 1,100 people and drove another 350,000 from their homes. Odinga formed a coalition government with President Mwai Kibaki to end two months of unrest. Kibaki will step down after two terms in office.

Four Kenyans including Kenyatta are being tried at the International Criminal Court on crimes against humanity charges for inciting the violence. They all deny the allegations.

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