First, the detainee findings, then the horse race numbers, which provide a note of caution for the Liberals. Rarely to you find such one sided opinion, but when it comes to government knowledge of possible torture, it's close to unanimity:
Do you think that the government of Canada was aware at the time that there was a strong possibility that some of the prisoners being handed off would be tortured?
Even Conservatives say yes, by more than a margin of two to one. When your own supporters so thoroughly reject your spin, it means you have a sizable problem. The nonsensical argument that MacKay and company have put forth, is being taken as just that- their no knowledge or credible report defence simply doesn't pass the most basic of smell tests. Maybe more concerning, the government has effectively boxed themselves in with this argument, so they are stuck with trying to counter common sense.
In terms of government satisfaction on this file, Canadians don't approve of their handling:
To date, how satisfied are you with the federal government's level of transparency and disclosure regarding the alleged torture of prisoners that were handed off to Afghan authorities by Canadian Forces?
Another bad number for the government. EKOS asks this question on a scale of 1-7, which explains the large neither component, representing a 4. I would categorize that subset as hardly supportive of the government position. The government strategy of obstruction and delay isn't doing them any favors, it suggests they have something to hide.
In terms of how this underlying weakness is translating to the horserace numbers, EKOS sees "trouble brewing" for the Conservatives, so it will be interesting in the usual voter lag effect comes into play. EKOS does find Conservative support falling, and it is noteworthy that all their gains after the September election showdown have disappeared:
EKOS is now releasing in two week chunks, which represent a huge sample size (4000). They've broken it down on a week to week basis (2000 MOE 2.1), to show if there are any trends within the release. The Conservatives actually scored 35.9% in the first week, down to 35.3% the last, further evidence of a slight downward trend.
NDP support is up, although the last week shows 16% support, so there is no trend to speak of. Of note, still no evidence of a federal NDP surge in Ontario and British Columbia, despite the HST maelstorm. It will be interesting to see if provincial decisions spill over to the federal scene, to the NDP's benefit. I know many naturally assume it will, but I'm not so sure, given the perceptions of the messenger. Something to keep an eye on.
As for the Liberals, while there is some optimism in this poll, I would submit that our problems are mitigating the damage to the Conservatives. In other words, if we were a more attractive option at the moment, then voters would be more inclined to leave the Conservatives. As it stands now, we see a quirky dynamic, wherein Conservative support is slowly falling, without any uptick whatsoever for the Liberals. The voters that are leaving the Con fold, are going elsewhere. In the poll, the Greens score an impressive 11.8% in the last week, the Bloc up to 10.7%. I see a hesitation towards the Liberals, the Conservative missteps offset by our own issues, which is why the government numbers are still in healthy minority terrority. However, there is a real weakness developing, so this translates to opportunity, if Liberals can get some momentum.