The two main threats to the New South Wales government in Wagga Wagga coincide in that the tide has turned against the Liberal Party, but both do not know with certainty how the votes will flow.
Polls have been closed in the by-elections after a tumultuous campaign for the Liberal Party, which is now preparing for a possible defeat at the regional headquarters for the first time in more than 60 years.
A complicated campaign, framed by a scandal of local corruption and a disorderly federal coup, has eroded the margin of liberals, which at one time was safe, 12.9 percent, say government sources.
Labor candidate Dan Hayes said local and national scandals had stoked the community's anger.
"People have been queuing early and for me, that indicates they are ready to vote, they are ready to make a change, where change will continue to be difficult," Hayes told reporters on Saturday.
The doctor and academic Joe McGirr has become the candidate with the best chance to end the generational change of the Liberals in the position of Riverina.
Dr. McGirr said he could feel the change at the polling stations, but he was not sure where traditional liberal voters would redirect their vote.
"There's definitely an appetite for change, it's just unclear where it's going to go," he said outside a voting booth in Wagga.
"I feel positive and very animated, but as I say, we are facing a very hard battle here and I think it is impossible to summon it at this stage."
Premier Gladys Berejiklian is equally uncertain and admitted that achieving victory would be difficult.
"It's a fight," he said during a brief presentation in the voting booth of the Sturt Public School with liberal candidate Julia Ham.
The prime minister and several of his top colleagues have acknowledged that Malcolm Turnbull's attack had discouraged some voters in Wagga, but federal Senator Jim Molan dismissed those concerns.
"I have not seen any indication that this is even a factor," he told AAP as he handed out letters of how to vote in Wagga.
"We do not suffer leadership spills for fun, I can tell you."
The coalition's primary vote has plummeted to 25 percent, according to a recent ReachTel poll published by News Corp Australia.
Despite favorable polls, Labor leader Luke Foley did his best to minimize expectations when he came to a position on Saturday morning, giving his candidate a chance of 500 to one.
Bookmakers have Hayes a better chance than the $ 7, while an independent win is the favorite at $ 1.87, ahead of the Liberals $ 1.90.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack will not rule on whether the federal coalition would be guilty of a liberal loss.
"We do not intend to lose the seat, we intend to win the seat and that question is hypothetical," he said.
NSW Nationals leader John Barilaro was a notable absence in Wagga, but McCormack said he "probably has things to do in his own electorate."