Aussie election starts; opposition tipped to win
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) - Australians headed to the polls on Saturday in an election that pits a ruling party marred by infighting and a much-maligned carbon tax against a conservative opposition led by a man who has never been particularly popular and has long been polarising.
Despite the lack of overwhelming enthusiasm for opposition leader Tony Abbott, he seemed on track to guide his Liberal Party-led coalition to a victory, with opinion polls giving the party a commanding lead over the ruling Labor Party.
A poll by Sydney-based market researcher Newspoll published in The Australian newspaper on Saturday showed the coalition was leading Labor 54 per cent to 46 per cent. It was based on a random national telephone survey of 2,511 voters over three days this week and had a 2 percentage point margin of error.
Polling booths opened at 8am Saturday in eastern Australia and were set to close 10 hours later, with western states voting another two hours beyond that due to time zones.