I stumbled upon this article from the punditsguide.ca blog about how various websites that predict seat counts fare when compared to actual election outcomes. One of the big points of the post is how no polling site really gets it right so maybe they shouldn’t be trusted. Fair enough. However, of the sites it surveys, Ekos does a pretty okay job. Have a look at the numbers the punditsguide sites….

2008 election actual: Cons 143, Lib 77, BQ 49, NDP 37, Other 2, Green 0
Ekos predicted: Cons 136, Lib 84, BQ 51, NDP 35, Other 2, Green 0

As you can see, Ekos wasn’t that far off. The actual count varied from their prediction only by 18 seats all together.

So, just for shits and giggles (and accepting that I really shouldn’t be concluding that Ekos is especially competent based off one data point), with a week left of campaigning, what are their seat projections for the 2011 election? Well, as of April 26, this is how they see things….

(By the way, that chart is plucked from their seat projection pdf which you can download here.)

As you can see, Ekos is presently predicting the NDP for the official opposition. And by a hefty margin, to boot. And with the Libs holding enough seats to give the two parties majority control of the House. Yowza. I have never seen the federal NDP polling so well. This is Prime Minister Layton territory. I wonder how deep into Ignatieff’s craw that would stick?

Of course, we must remember support for progressive parties always collapses on election day. So goes the conventional wisdom. And at least some of that collapse can be traced to the fact that the people who may say they’re going to vote progressive end up just not voting — whether because of apathy or feelings of disenfranchisement or whathaveyou. Low voter turnouts hurt parties like the NDP the hardest.

So I guess we should ignore these anomalous polling numbers for the NDP seeing as, in this “Time To Lead” feature from the Globe and Mail website that I’ve recorded in a screen cap at right, we can expect to see voter turnout plummet to a new low this election. Sigh….

Wait, what’s that headline just above the “Time To Lead” feature? An unexpected record high turnout at the advance polls?

Oh. That is surprising. Very surprising indeed….