The Guardian/ICM poll in The Guardian is, on the face of it not good news for the Conservative. Their lead over Labour has narrowed to only two points. In March the Tories were polling 40%, whereas they now score 34% compared to Labour's 32%. The LibDems have stayed static at 21%, which is a higher rating than they receive in YouGov or Populus polls.
So what has changed since May 3rd when the Conservatives were polling 40%? The poll was taken from May 18-20th when the Willetts grammar school debacle was at its worst and the Labour Party was getting non-controversial free publicity in the aftermath of the Blair resignation.
However, that cannot on its own account for a 6% drop. The only thing I can put some of it down to is a kind of post coital afterglow, in which the public wish to show their appreciation for Tony Blair. This is norne out by the fact that 55% of people do not want him to go immediately and want him to stay until June 27th. As the Guardian says: "This may reflect a growing tolerance of Mr Blair's position now that he has confirmed details of his departure."
However, as usual when Gordon Brown is introduced into the equation the picture becomes better for the Conservatives and they open up an eight point lead of 38-30. Interestingly, virtuall all Tory voters stick with their Party when David Cameron is introduced into the question, but 15% of Labour voters move awat when Gordon Brown is named as leader. For the LibDems the figure is 21% when Sir Menzies Campbell is mentioned. I draw comfort from those figures, at least!
I expect all opinion polls to swing all over the place over the next few months. Indeed I wonder whether any of them are really worth looking at until Gordon Brown has bedded down.
So I do not pretend that this poll is good for the Conservatives, but I don't find it particularly surprising.