“61% of Kenyans” believe Ipsos Synovate doesn’t do random surveys

It is somehow interesting how 61% of Kenyans have held interesting views since 2010. Right now on Twitter the phrase 61% of Kenyans is trending, and if you trace the phrase back to the first tweet, you will find that in April 2010, according to Ipsos Synovate, some 61% of Kenyans had no problems with Karthi Courts being part of the almost completed new constitution.

Take a time jump one year into the future to land in April 2011. In that year, you will again find the phrase 61% of Kenyans, still attributed to Ipsos Synovate, saying that they favored Hague trials.


Another time jump will lead us to December 2012, and in this era we again meet Ipsos Synovate using the phrase 61% of Kenyans, but now on unemployment data.


In July 2013, the same Ipsos Synovate would release results showing how 61% of Kenyans were no longer in favor of Hague trials.


In February 2014, we meet a tweet saying, “61% of Kenyans want case against President Kenyatta dropped”, without reference to who did the findings. Your guess is as good as mine, it must be Synovate.

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In August last year, Ipsos Synovate would publish findings that 61% of Kenyans did not want Raila Odinga to run for presidency.


Over the years, especially between 2014 and 2016, we also find various researches and opinion pollsters mentioning the phrase 61% of Kenyans. In these mentions, we find that exactly 61% of Kenyans have held views from banking, digital migration, to the importance of ICC in fighting impunity among many other divergent topics.

Today, we learn from Synovate that 61% of Kenyans believe that the country is heading to the wrong direction, but not all of them will vote to change that direction. According to the same Synovate, only 44% of Kenyans will vote for change (43% for Raila and 1% for the other candidates).


So I ask, why is the “61% of Kenyans” so important to Ipsos Synovate?

According to a conjecture by Frederick Ombako, Founder and Survey Researcher at ResearchPro and Lead Economic Analyst at CheteNET, the pollsters in the country never do random research, but rely on responses from the same people who are already in their database. “It is a conjecture I’m making that since I see some of these pollsters using phone interviews, this sampling may not really be random as we may want to believe. And I’m thinking this is basically a panel survey. And with that, it becomes hard to produce reliable results especially if we are talking about opinion polls. The only thing we will be seeing is the number of undecided voters coming down as we distribute it among the candidates over time. But I could be wrong”, Mr. Ombako commented in relation to one of the recent released opinion polls.

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His conjecture would however receive support from a commenter by the name Asher who commented, “There’s this company that conducts polls on popularity of radio and television stations,and programs,they got my number in 2012 when I was in college,upto today they have been calling me whenever they are about to conduct one.My response has not changed,the tv and radio channels I listen to are still the same”.

It is therefore easy to see why we have the phrase “61% of Kenyans” being too common in Ipsos Synovate surverys, no matter what is being researched or when.

Odipo Riaga
Managing Editor at KachTech Media
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