Despite a Conservative supporter’s outburst on national television recently saying Senator Mike Duffy’s trial and the Prime Minister’s Office’s involvement in covering up a scheme for the Senator to repay more than $90,000 in ineligible housing and expense claims he made since 2009, the trial is having a small impact on Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s electoral chances, according to a new poll by Abacus Data. “The Duffy trial continues and while the entire country is not transfixed by it, the number of voters watching it closely is certainly significant enough to highlight the risk for the Conservatives,” wrote Abacus Data CEO David Colletto and chair Bruce Anderson in a statement. The poll, conducted online with 1,439 Canadians between Aug. 14 and 17 and accurate to 2.6 percentage points 19 times out of 20, shows that 64 per cent of Canadians are following Sen. Duffy’s trial on charges of fraud, breach of trust and bribery. Of those, six per cent are following “very closely” and 16 per cent are follow “closely” while the rest are following “a little.” Thirty-six per cent of Canadians are not following the trial “at all.” The poll also shows that of those 22 per cent who are following the trial closely or very closely, 20 per cent are persuadable voters. Abacus Data asked Canadians their views on who acted properly or improperly on expense claims in the case of Sen. Duffy, on how former PMO chief of staff Nigel Wright got involved in the matter, and how Mr. Harper handled the situation. “Most of those who have an opinion about the actions of Messrs. Duffy, Wright and Harper in this matter, believe that they acted improperly. This criticism is most pronounced for Mr. Duffy (five per cent think he acted properly, 61 per cent improperly.) Where Mr. Wright is concerned, nine per cent believe he acted properly, and 51 per cent improperly. For the Prime Minister, 15 per cent believe he acted properly, while three times as many people feel his actions have been improper (47 per cent),” wrote Mr. Colletto and Mr. Anderson. “We also wanted to look carefully at the potential impact of the issue on soft Conservative supporters. Among those intending to vote CPC but who say their mind is not fully made up, 64 per cent say Mr. Duffy acted improperly, 48 per cent say Mr. Wright did, and 24 per cent say Mr. Harper acted improperly. Thirty-one per cent said the PM acted properly in their view, underscoring that even among his supporters, there is discomfort with the way he has been managing this matter.” The poll, released yesterday, also showed that 25 per cent of voters say the information coming from the trial will make a difference in how they vote. “Of those, 12 per cent say they are more inclined to vote CPC, while 87 per cent say it makes them less inclined to support Mr. Harper’s party. Needless to say perhaps, much of this reaction is coloured by partisanship,” Mr. Colletto and Mr. Anderson note in their analysis. “While more people find fault with Mr. Duffy than Mr. Wright, and with Mr. Wright more than Mr. Harper, the results indicate that the PM has not persuaded as many people as he might hope, that he has acted properly in this matter.” Sen. Duffy’s trial continues today in Ottawa court at 10 a.m. with former PMO legal counsel Benjamin Perrin testifying. For more trial updates, visit The Hill Times website. Where the leaders are, day 19 (all times local) Conservative Party Leader Stephen Harper will be in southern Ontario today. He will visit King Township, Ont., and deliver remarks. Conservative incumbent candidates Peter Van Loan, running in York-Simcoe, Ont., and Lois Brown, running in Newmarket-Aurora, Ont., will join him at WaterStone Estate & Farms at 10 a.m. NDP Leader Tom Mulcair will be making campaign stops in Vancouver, B.C., and Winnipeg, Man., today. At 9 a.m., he will be meeting with parents and their children in Vancouver and then he will head to Winnipeg for a rally at the RBC Convention Centre at 6 p.m. Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau will be in Victoria, B.C., today. At 10 a.m., he will make an announcement at Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke candidate David Merner’scampaign office. Green Party Leader Elizabeth May will be in her riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands, B.C. today, attending private meetings and then heading to the Spirit of the West concert at Butchart Gardens in Brentwood Bay, B.C. Elsewhere on the agenda (all times local) The Fraser Institute will release a report focused on health care costs for families. The study, The Price of Public Health Care Insurance, highlights calculations on the increased portion of the total tax bill individual Canadians and families pay at all levels of government that goes to public health insurance. The report will be released online at 5:30 a.m. EST. Liberal candidate Anita Vandenbeld, running in Ottawa West-Nepean, Ont., will be holding a photo opportunity at 11:30 a.m. when she delivers a sign to former Progressive Conservative MP David Daubney at his home. Liberal candidate Catherine McKenna, running in Ottawa Centre, Ont., will be holding a photo opportunity Metcalfe and Sparks streets to launch her campaign’s custom-designed election signs for bikes at 11 a.m. The B.C. Civil Liberties Association and the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers will make an announcement regarding Bill C-24, new immigration reforms that allow the government to revoke citizenship from dual citizens convicted of terrorism and other crimes. The press conference takes place at 9 a.m. at the Mariott Downtown Eaton Centre hotel in Toronto. Throwback Thursday photo of the day NDP Leader Tom Mulcair is pictured with former party leader Jack Layton in September 2007, shortly after winning a byelection in Outremont, Que., a riding that was previously a Liberal stronghold. He was the second NDP MP ever to be elected in Quebec (the first also being a byelection) at the time and the second non-Liberal to win the riding. A year later, in the 2008 election, he became the first ever NDP MP to be elected in a general election campaign.