By Robbie Gibb
Over the weekend ICM conducted an opinion poll for Newsnight to establish public attitudes to drug taking among our political leaders.
The poll asked how they would regard a leader of the Conservative Party if it emerged that he had taken illegal drugs.
Two thirds (66%) of voters said it would make no difference to whether they would vote Conservative if they knew the leader of the party had used cocaine at some point in the past, with 28% of voters saying they would be less likely to vote Conservative if they knew the party's leader had used cocaine.
Have they or haven't they? Most voters don't seem to mind
The poll also asked about cannabis. It asked: Would knowing that the leader of the Conservative party had used cannabis at some time in the past make you more or less likely to vote Conservative or would it make no difference?
82% of the voting public said it would make no difference, 11% said less likely, 4% more likely and 3% didn't know.
Tory target voters
However, of people who vote Conservative or would at least consider voting Conservative at some point, the knowledge that the leader of the Conservative Party had used cannabis at some time in the past, made very little difference to whether they are likely to vote Conservative with 81% saying it would make no difference, 9% less likely and 8% more likely.
Amongst some groups of electors, the knowledge that the leader of the Conservative party may have used cannabis, may actually be a net positive. In the age group 25-34, 7% said it would make them "more likely" to vote Conservative compared with 5% saying "less likely", a net "more likely" of 2%.
Amongst people who are currently non-Conservative voters but say they would consider voting Conservative, 16% said it would make them "more likely" to vote Conservative compared with 10% saying "less likely" - a net of 6% saying "more likely".
The results of this poll were released by Newsnight on Monday, 17 October, 2005.
1,003 people were surveyed between 14 and 16 October, 2005.