MAYORAL RACE: Ipswich election on knife edge
A KNIFE'S edge.
That is what today's Ipswich mayoral by-election is on as the 11 candidates get set to find out what the public has thought of their campaigns and their credentials.
Polling by Galaxy and ReachTEL before the election suggested only two candidates could win; Acting Mayor Paul Tully and Cr Andrew Antoniolli.
The most recent Galaxy poll had Cr Tully ahead on 36% and Cr Antoniolli close behind on 30%. Next best was Peter Robinson on 9%.
Mr Robinson has not registered a how-to-vote card with the ECQ so can't hand any out today, which will make his chance of a late surge problematic to say the least.
He told the QT he will be handing out a promotional flyer at booths instead and that would do the trick for him.
With so many candidates the preferences are likely to be scattered all over the place.
Many electors will no doubt simply 'vote 1'.
If that is the case then it is reasonable to suggest that preferences won't decide this election, unless the gap between the two leading contenders is narrow indeed.
There are several unknowns in this race. The last polling was done a fortnight ago.
In that poll the undecided vote was a substantial 14%.
The candidates which have won over those voters in the interim will obviously get a substantial boost today.
If Cr Tully is to win he will need to perform very strongly in the booths at the eastern end of the city and hold his own in the booths closer to central Ipswich.
The booths in suburbs such as Springfield, Goodna, Bellbird Park and Redbank Plains are ones where Cr Tully can accumulate a large chunk of votes.
There are around 10,000 voters in Redbank Plains alone.
Cr Tully's campaign has had positive reports from the pre-polling booths and also from the ground in the western areas of Ipswich in Division 10.
For Cr Antoniolli to win he will need to make some significant inroads into Cr Tully's territory in the east and perform strongly in the big booths closer to central Ipswich.
Cr Antoniolli's supporters told the QT that he was heartened by the response to his campaign in the last week in particular.
The campaigns of Brett Morrissey, Dallas Klass, Jack Paff and Gary Duffy have also expressed optimism about their response on pre-poll booths.
Cr Antoniolli will be hoping that Cr Wayne Wendt can swing votes for him within the boundaries of Division 5.
Cr Cheryl Bromage will be an asset to Cr Tully in the key booths at Brassall where there are 7,200 voters.
Booths at Brassall, Silkstone, Raceview, Yamanto and Flinders View will be extremely important in the wash-up.
There are 3000 voters in North Ipswich and more than 4000 in One Mile and Leichhardt.
The above-mentioned big Ipswich booths will be watched closely by all candidates as the count unfolds tonight.
The engagement of voters, or lack of it, will also be revealed when the final figures come in.
There is expected to be a significant portion of the electorate that won't vote at all.
The question of who will win has been asked a lot in the past week.
The answer may not be known until long into this evening and possibly for days.