ICM’s monthly poll for the Guardian shows the same sort of recovery in Labour supports as the other polls conducted since Tony Blair’s announcement of his resignation – Labour are up 2 points since last month with overall headline figures of CON 34% (-3), LAB 32% (+2), LDEM 21% (nc). In contrast to the recent YouGov and Populus polls though, the gain in Labour support is at the expense of the Conservatives rather than the Liberal Democrats.

ICM’s poll also suggests there may be some thawing of opinion towards Gordon Brown. In the hypothetical question of how respondents would vote with Gordon Brown as Labour leader the Conservatives still have a far greater lead – in this case 38% to Labour’s 30%. However, the 8 point lead is actually less than the 12 point lead and 15 point lead that the Conservatives secured in comparable questions in the last two ICM polls, so perhaps the Brown PR offensive is beginning to bear some fruit.

As ever, these questions aren’t really compable since normal questions don’t include the names of the party leaders and the mention of David Cameron and Ming Campbell might also be affecting the result – it will be a relief when Gordon Brown does finally become Prime Minister and such questions are no longer necessary! In the meantime I’m really unsure what voting intention polls signify, if anything – are people imagining an election tomorrow with Tony Blair staying on after all, or an election tomorrow with Tony Blair there, but about to resign, or an election tomorrow with Brown already in situ. We don’t know. We’ll have a slightly better idea when Gordon Brown actually becomes Prime Minister and we don’t have to worry about such things, and a much better picture once the initial boost he is likely to get has settled.

There is still a month to go until then though, and little demand for Blair to step down sooner. ICM found that 55% of people wanted Tony Blair to remain until the 27th June as intended, with only 38% wanting him to step down now.

The poll was conducted between the 18-20 May.

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