I would agree, that Canadians are generally apathetic at the moment, certainly not engaged enough to care about the details. However, to extrapolate that fact into a rationalization that Liberals don't pay a price for their performance, is wishful thinking.
First off, you can immediately eliminate half the electorate, because these people don't vote, their indifference is irrelevant to any equation, they don't exist in terms of impression. Now that you've narrowed your audience, you've taken "joe blow" out of the mix, you are left with the other half, of which a reasonable percentage are somewhat engaged.
When asked if people follow events at a national level closely, 28% of Canadians said yes. Another 50% say they follow events somewhat closely. This finding supports another study, which tracks people's new access:
Sixty-five per cent of Canadians read a daily newspaper on any given weekday, and 72% read a newspaper on weekends. Canadians spend an average of 45 minutes a day reading their daily newspaper and almost 90 minutes on weekend editions.
I would argue 99% of the people who actually vote encompass the 65% who read a newspaper, we need not concern ourselves with the completely disinterested, nor should we find comfort in their habits. Again, they are irrelevant to the equation. When you see a stat, that a quarter of people follow events closely, we are really talking about half of the voting public. The rest, the other half, are at least exposed to the level of casual information absorber.
What the people who defend the Liberals at the moment forget, it doesn't take a high degree of engagement to grasp the broad themes. Let's look at one example, Dion's leadership. By an overwhelming majority, Canadians have developed an impression that Dion isn't a strong leader. I've heard many argue that this is a by-product of the constant Tory attack ads, they have damaged Dion somewhat. That might be true, but I find it odd to use a medium to help explain, the same medium which apparently nobody watches. If people see the commericals, hear the ads, they are also catching the odd newscast, a couple moments on the radio. In other words, night after of night of negative stories about abstaining and lame excuses eventually has an impact, even if people aren't consumed, like political junkies.
When people react to the NDP, Bloc, Conservative attacks on the Liberals with "so what?", it conveys too things, partisan arrogance and bad spin. It does matter, it does feed an already held perception of the Liberals, it cements the frame, it makes it hard to break out of that negative image. If you think that conditions will somehow improve, within a climate which oozes weakness day after day, then you are kidding yourself. If you think nobody cares, all of this occurs within some esoteric playground, detached from people's busy lives, then you are kidding yourself. Actions have consequences, and while one individual vote might not resonate, patterns do, broad strokes sink in, impressions are made.