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Turned-off by the antics of minority government, a pollster is predicting Canadians have reached a tipping point and are now ready again for majority government.

"The minority experiment, I think, is almost over," Nik Nanos told CTV's Question Period Sunday.

"We've had six years of minority government. Perhaps Canadians are going to be ready for a majority because they're looking at what's happening in the House of Commons and they're not seeing a lot of progress on things."

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Mr. Nanos was commenting on his latest poll, conducted for Policy Options magazine. It finds Canadians tuning out of politics because of increasing frustration with the level of political discourse in the country. They're also questioning the effectiveness of the House of Commons.

The poll finds that 10.1 per cent of Canadians are satisfied with the effectiveness of the House, compared to 23.8 per cent who are dissatisfied. Just over 20 per cent were somewhat dissatisfied and 20.5 per cent were unsure.

Mr. Nanos noted that only 9 per cent of respondents in his survey said they follow the Commons closely.

The poll of 1,014 Canadians was conducted from Aug. 28 to Sept. 3. It has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Canadians thought, too, that the House would be more effective if MPs were more polite - 64.6 per cent compared to 4.7 per cent, who said better-mannered MPs would have a negative impact on the effectiveness of the House. Twenty per cent said it would have no impact and 10.6 per cent said they were unsure.

As for the effectiveness of the leaders, Stephen Harper won that race as 27.9 per cent of respondents thought he was the most effective leader in the Commons. Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe came in second with 13.2 per cent followed by the NDP's Jack Layton with 12.5 per cent and, finally, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff with 10.7 per cent.

Mr. Nanos also asked Canadians about reforming the Commons, wondering about the effectiveness of allowing MPs to vote against their party.

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He found that roughly two thirds of Canadians, or 65.2 per cent, think free votes would have a positive effect on the workings of the Commons. This compares to 11.4 per cent who believe it would have a negative effect and 13 per cent were unsure.

It's an interesting question, given there has been a lot of coverage of the fact Mr. Ignatieff is not allowing his MPs a free vote on the upcoming Conservative private member's bill to scrap the registry. This has proved quite controversial.

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About the Author
Ontario politics reporter

Jane Taber is a reporter at Queen’s Park. After spending three years reporting from the Atlantic, she has returned to Ontario and back to writing about her passion, politics. She spent 25 years covering Parliament Hill for the Ottawa Citizen, the National Post and the Globe and Mail. More

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