Canadians following Prime Minister Stephen Harper's decision to prorogue Parliament were nearly twice as likely to oppose the move as favour it, an EKOS poll suggests.
The poll, released exclusively to CBC News on Thursday, found the majority of Canadians surveyed — 67 per cent — are at least somewhat aware of Harper's decision to prorogue, or shut down, Parliament until March.
Of those who were aware of the decision, 58 per cent opposed the move, the poll found. By comparison, 31 per cent of those polled who were aware of the move supported it. Opposition to the decision was highest among Liberal and NDP supporters and those with a university education.
"The initial evidence is that Canadians are indeed paying attention to the issue of prorogation, and they don't like it," said EKOS President Frank Graves.
Harper's move to prorogue Parliament drew criticism from opposition parties. They saw it as an attempt to muzzle parliamentarians and avoid the controversy sparked by hearings into Canada's role in Afghanistan — specifically, the treatment of detainees transferred to Afghan authorities by the Canadian military.
The Conservative government said it sought the suspension in order to have time to consult with Canadians, stakeholders and businesses as it moved into the "next phase" of its economic action plan amid signs of economic recovery.
63 per cent agree move is 'anti-democratic'
The EKOS poll also asked Canadians who were aware of the prorogation to choose which one of two statements most closely reflected their views.
Nearly two-thirds — 63 per cent — favoured the statement, "The elected house of Parliament is the proper place to conduct the business of the nation, and suspending Parliament is antidemocratic."
Just over a third favoured the statement, "By shutting down Parliament, Stephen Harper can consult directly with Canadians in preparation for the next federal budget."
The survey of 1,114 Canadians age 18 and over was conducted Jan. 5 and Jan. 6. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.4 percentage points, 19 times out 20.