The paper's headline Public want Conservatives to share power with LibDems highlights the most popular option, though by a very narrow margin, as Peter Riddell reports.
And in fact a Labour-LibDem coalition (51 per cent) has more support than a full Tory-LibDem coalition (46 per cent, with 52 per cent against). A Tory minority government is just more popular than either (53 per cent), as long as it depends on LibDem support, and much the least popular option (29 per cent) if primarily based on an understanding with the Ulster Unionists.
We may see slightly different results as the question is asked in different ways, but the poll suggests that the public seem to support the politicians negotiating to deal with the hung Parliament outcome, and do not regard the outcome as a foregone conclusion.
Here are the main findings, as reported in The Times today:
A Conservative minority government with the support of the Liberal Democrats is, narrowly, the favoured solution to the electoral stalemate, according to a Populus poll for The Times.The poll of 514 voters today showed that 53 per cent supported that option, with 47 per cent opposed.
A close runner-up is the option of Labour remaining in government in a formal agreement with the Lib Dems. This was backed by 51 per cent and opposed by 45 per cent. It was favoured by nearly nine out of ten Labour voters.
A small majority (52 per cent) oppose the Conservatives forming a coalition government with the Lib Dems, though this is backed by 46 per cent, including about four fifths of Tories.
The public are evenly split — 43 to 45 per cent — on Gordon Brown remaining as Prime Minister. More than a third of Lib Dems back him staying.
The least appealing scenario is for the Conservatives to form a minority government with the support of the Ulster Unionists, favoured by 29 per cent, and opposed by 52 per cent. About 60 per cent of Tory voters support this.
The poll suggests that a majority of the public reject the view expressed vehemently by some right-wing newspapers that it would not be democratically legitimate for Gordon Brown and Labour to seek to negotiate with other parties to form a government with sufficent support in the new parliament.
The newspapers offer to vocalise the democratic outrage of "the people" but in this case would seem to be out of touch with what the public actually think.