The last of ICM’s monthly Guardian polls of 2006 shows the Conservatives with an 8 point lead in voting intentions. The full topline figures with changes from ICM’s last poll in the News of the World are CON 40%(+1), LAB 32%(+1), LDEM 18%(-2), although the last ICM poll in the Guardian showed only a 5 point lead – hence the Guardian’s reporting of the poll as showing an increase in the Tory lead. ICM polls have appeared quite erratic lately, with subsequent polls showing leads of 6, 10, 5 and 8 points. These are all well within the margin of error of a pretty static level of party support, but it has made it difficult to discern the Conservative lead was faltering or remaining strong. In context this poll suggests that the Conservative lead does indeed appear to be steady again after having all but disappeared after Labour’s conference back in the Autumn.

The poll was conducted at the weekend, after Tony Blair was questioned in the “loans for honours” inquiry, and the absence of any drop in Labour’s level of support suggests that the interview has not done any immediate and drastic damage to the government.

Given recent interest in the rise of “other” parties, ICM also asked respondents which other parties they might consider voting for. Around a third of Conservative and Labour supporters said they would not consider voting for any other party, of the rest 32% of current Conservative voters said they would consider voting Liberal Democrat, 19% would consider voting for the Green party and 14% UKIP. Amongst Labour voters, 30% would consider voting Lib Dem, 18% Conservative, 16% Green and 9% UKIP.

UPDATE: The tables are now on the Guardian website. The rest of the figures for which parties people might consider switching their support to are the next election show that 10% of current Conservative supporters would consider voting Labour at the next election and 8% the BNP. Amongst Labour voters 5% would consider voting for the BNP. Amongst 76% of Liberal Democrat voters say they would consider voting for another party come the general election, 32% say they would consider voting Labour, 30% Green, 18% Conservative, 8% UKIP and 4% BNP.

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