Oz exit polls favour Labor to win cliffhanger

Sydney, Aug.21 (ANI): Polls have closed on the Australian east coast with exit surveys suggesting that Labor may win in what is turning out to be an election cliffhanger.

Exit polling for Sky News suggests the Government's primary vote could have surged to 42 per cent, with the Coalition on 45 per cent and the Greens 9 per cent. A further four per cent of voters are casting their ballots for others.

The Australian reported the figures show a significantly higher primary vote for the Government after a News poll taken in the final days of the campaign had the Government's primary vote at 36.2 per cent to the Coalition's 43.4 per cent.

The exit poll, conducted by Auspoll in 30 key marginal seats, showed the two-party preferred vote went 51 per cent to Labor and 49 per cent to the Coalition.

A Nine Network exit poll of 30 marginal seats gave Labor a two-party preferred lead of 52 per cent to 48 per cent.

Centrebet took a bet of 60,000 dollars at 1.60 dollars on Prime Minister Julia Gillard's team before shortening Labor's odds to 1.39 dollars this afternoon.

The Coalition meanwhile has drifted out to 2.90 dollars, from 2.38 dollars, and punters can help themselves to 2.55 dollars for a hung parliament.

Senior Labor sources were "cautiously optimistic" the exit poll figures - if repeated in the official count - might be enough to see the government returned.

As the nation's 14 million voters cast their ballots both leaders made a final plea for support.

Both the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader maintained a hectic schedule in the morning, visiting marginal electorates in Sydney.

The Coalition needs 17 Labor seats to win the election by garnering a uniform swing of 2.3 per cent across the country. But the government can lose its absolute majority if it loses 13 seats.

Gillard cast her vote in her home electorate of Gellibrand in Melbourne, beaming for the cameras.

Tony Abbott cast his vote at his local surf club, before stealing the spotlight from Labor's Maxine McKew at a polling station during a visit to the seat of Bennelong.

Polling booths will close at 6 p.m. local time, and the first results are expected at 6.30 p.m. (AEST). (ANI)

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