Rivals target swing voters

Rivals target swing voters

SYDNEY - A poisonous Australian election campaign rea
ches its climax tomorrow, with conservative opposition leader Tony Abbott on track to become the nation's next prime minister at the expense of Labor's Kevin Rudd.

With more than one million votes already cast, the two rivals launched into a last-ditch blitz to sway voters, Mr Abbott in Brisbane and Mr Rudd in Canberra.

Opinion polls show that Mr Abbott is the clear favourite to become Australia's 29th prime minister, with the latest predictions indicating he will get a landslide 87 seats to ruling Labor's 60.

Mr Rudd has struggled for traction after toppling Ms Julia Gillard, Australia's first female leader, just weeks before calling the election - vengeance for his ouster at her hands just before the 2010 polls.

According to political analysts, some 80 per cent of electors would typically have made up their minds by the time Australia's polls roll around every three years, leaving the campaign focused on swing voters.

"These are neither interested nor involved in the issues, do not much care about the outcome, are largely voting because they are obliged to do it, and will make up their minds on the day," said Mr Barry Jones, former Labor minister and a Melbourne University fellow.

"Reaching these voters is not by raising serious issues, setting out a vision or challenge, it's by emphasising fear or by entertaining them, appealing to quick jokey references or offering bribes."

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