Fabricated opinion poll does not show the state of play between Kenya’s main election rivals

Copyright AFP 2017-2022. All rights reserved.

Facebook posts in Kenya have shared a graphic that purports to show the results of an opinion poll conducted by research firm GeoPoll ranking the country’s two main election contenders, deputy president William Ruto and arch-rival Raila Odinga. The claim is false; the graphic is entirely fabricated. GeoPoll also denied “conducting any political opinion polls in Kenya”.

On March 18, 2022, this Facebook page with more than 13,000 followers shared a graphic showing the results of an opinion poll – purportedly conducted by research firm GeoPoll – just months ahead of Kenya’s presidential elections.

The East African nation is scheduled to elect its fifth president on August 9, 2022, and will see Ruto facing off against Odinga, who has formed a coalition pact with the outgoing president Uhuru Kenyatta. 

According to the purported poll, Ruto leads Odinga in the presidential race with 14,812,400 “votes” to 8,211,127.

A screenshot of the false Facebook post, taken on March 30, 2022

Similar claims were shared on Facebook here and here.

The graphic, however, is entirely fabricated.

Numerous errors

First off, there are mathematical errors with the numbers in the graphic.

For instance, the total number of “votes” for each candidate does not add up. Ruto’s numbers add up to 14,067,050 and not 14,812, 400 while Odinga’s “votes” sum to 9,221,267 – about one million less than what is on the graphic.

Another issue with the “survey” is that pre-election polls take samples from a portion of the population – they do not conduct actual voting. The fabricated survey claims to show the outcome of the poll based on more than 23 million “votes”.

Incidentally, the regional tallies in the graphic closely reflect the 2017 registered voter list, suggesting a possible source for the figures in the graphic.

A day after the graphic made the rounds online, GeoPoll dismissed it as “fake”.

“We are aware of this ‘report’ supposedly created by GeoPoll making rounds on social media. Please note that GeoPoll DID NOT conduct this survey and is not conducting any political opinion polls in Kenya,” a post on the company’s Facebook page read.

With about four months to the much anticipated general election, Kenya has witnessed an uptick in disinformation ranging from old images of huge crowds attending political rallies to fabricated opinion polls.