Voters are heading to the polls in Wagga Wagga as the NSW government prepares for a possible defeat at the regional headquarters for the first time in more than half a century.
A disastrous election campaign by a local corruption scandal and a disorderly federal coup has eroded the margin of security for liberals by 12.9 percent, government sources say.
Local doctor and academician Joe McGirr has become the frontrunner with the best chance of ending the 60-year possession of the Liberals at the Riverina post, although he expects tight competition.
"A lot of people are really excited … it makes sense to make a change," he told AAP in Wagga.
In campaigning with liberal candidate Julia Ham on Friday, premier Gladys Berejiklian admitted that the Liberals could be punished after the federal bloodshed that saw Malcolm Turnbull become prime minister.
"There is a possibility that we can not keep the seat," Ms. Berejiklian told reporters.
Dan Hayes of the Labor Party believes that the Liberals have taken Wagga for granted and that Saturday is an opportunity for the community to retreat.
"They can not appear three weeks before the by-elections and try to regain that confidence," Hayes told reporters, referring to the disgraced behavior of former Liberal MP Daryl Maguire discovered after a corruption investigation.
The coalition's primary vote has plummeted to 25 percent, according to a recent ReachTel poll published by News Corp Australia.
But while many commentators believe that Dr. McGirr will win, bookmakers still have the Liberal candidate as the $ 1.90 favorite. The independent is on the second line at $ 2.