A new Conservative Home poll of members asked respondents:
“Which party would you countenance a coalition/confidence and supply deal with?”
The results were as follows:
Liberal Democrats (73% for coalition). The Liberal Democrats will likely be the Conservatives’ biggest potential allies in Parliament and with Lib Dem MPs saying they would be open to a repeat of the 2010-2015 coalition working with the party would be a viable option for the Conservatives. The worry for David Cameron under this arrangement would be that that many of his party’s more right wing back-benchers would be put off by another coalition. If this is the case then a confidence and supply arrangement could be the way forward. 77% said they would be willing to work with the Lib Dems under such an arrangement.
DUP (68% for coalition). Unless UKIP make significant seat gains then the DUP could be the next biggest friendly party to the Conservatives. They currently have 8 MPs and could potentially have more come May, so in a parliament where arithmetic really matters the party could be crucial for putting David Cameron in Downing Street. However, they have also said they would be willing to work with Labour so it could come down to who has the best deal for them. Additionally, 77% of Conservative members polled said they would be willing to work with the DUP in a confidence and supply arrangement.
UKIP (49% for coalition). Surprisingly perhaps, UKIP do not appear to be an incredibly popular choice for coalition with less than half of respondents saying them, however, in good news for Nigel Farage’s party 70% said they would be willing for the Conservatives to work with them in terms of confidence and supply.
Overall, it appears there is a willingness to work with other parties, but that a coalition with the Liberal Democrats and/or the DUP would be more popular than one with UKIP. If the numbers add up and post-election deals go well for the Conservatives then the country could be faced with a Conservative-Lib Dem-DUP coalition, backed up by UKIP - perhaps in exchange for a quick referendum. However, such an arrangement reliant on four parties could end badly if disagreements get out of hand.
But come May it could be Cameron's only route to a second term.
The full results of the Conservative Home poll can be accessed here.