IRI Poll Finds Support for Kenyan Government

July 10, 2006

Nairobi, Kenya – An IRI poll found that, more than six months after the failure of Kenya's constitutional referendum, the country's government still enjoys the support of a majority of Kenyans.  Among respondents to the poll, 55.7 percent expressed approval of the government's performance while 32.1 percent disapproved and 11.5 percent had no opinion.

Despite this generally positive view of the government's performance, respondents were deeply divided about Kenya's future, with nearly half (49.8 percent) saying that Kenya is headed in the wrong direction and 46.5 percent saying that it is headed in the right direction.  The poll also found that Kenyans split on the accomplishments of the ninth parliament.  Nearly 48 percent of respondents disapprove of the current parliament's performance while 38.6 percent approve.  Asked about their own member's performance, respondents were evenly split, with 43.9 percent expressing approval and 44 percent disapproval.

Economic issues are the most important issue government should address according to respondents.  A majority of Kenyans, 64.9 percent, pointed to economic development concerns, including employment creation (30.6 percent), poverty reduction (12.7 percent), economic recovery (12.4 percent), agricultural development (4.7 percent) and infrastructure (4.5 percent) as the most important issues.  Kenyans were split about their countries economic condition, with 43.2 percent describing it as bad and 38.5 percent as good.  Asked about their own economic situation, 76.4 percent responded it had remained the same or gotten worse over the past five years, indicating that many Kenyans felt the economic gains made in the past few years have yet to trickle down to them.

Respondents also indicated disappointment in the government's efforts to combat corruption, with 64.4 percent saying corruption had increased or remained the same since the 2002 election and 51.5 percent believe that the government is not committed to the fight against corruption.

Finally, the survey found a high level of interest in and support for the constituency development fund (CDF), with 88.8 percent of respondents aware of the CDF and 78.3 percent believe it should be increased.  However, the poll also found a high level of discontent with the management of the CDF, as 62.6 percent of respondents feel that it is not being managed in an open way and only 31.9 percent say it has had a large impact in their constituency.  Asked who they would trust to manage CDF funds, 60 percent said they would trust a committee elected by constituents while only 10.6 percent said they would trust their member of parliament with this responsibility.  The CDF was established in 2003 to decentralize development planning by devoting a percentage of the national budget to constituency-level development projects, to be directed by local committees.

The nationwide poll was conducted on behalf of IRI by Strategic Public Relations and Research, a survey firm based in Nairobi, Kenya.  From June 15-18, 2006, 3,001 people were interviewed in all regions of Kenya. The margin of error does not exceed +/- two percent.