It’s a tough choice for swinging voters this election.
Nationally Ballarat has been left in the wilderness, missing out on the big promises and visits that marked the neighbouring marginal electorates.
Polls show the Australia’s 15 million voters are split on the major parties.
According to Friday’s Fairfax-Ipsos poll Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is more popular but people haven’t counted Opposition Leader Bill Shorten out just yet, even if many pundits have.
Locally, Labor member Catherine King sits on a 4.9 per cent gap on the Liberal Party, although this came in an election where her party was routed nationally.
She has made one major promise for Ballarat itself in $5 million for a Ballarat Sports and Events Centre, and pledged to put money into Ballan and Bacchus Marsh projects.
Liberal candidate Sarah Wade has focused on the CFA crisis.
She told The Courier this week it was not a ploy for votes but a simple backing of volunteer firefighters.
“I’m not looking at this as whether or not voters are going to grab onto it. I’m not looking at this in relation to votes at all, I’ll make that perfectly clear, upfront,” she said.
“I’m looking at this as a community matter.”
Ms King said it was clearly an election peg for her opponents.
Outside that issue Ms Wade has said Ballarat will benefit from the small business tax cuts outlined in this year’s budget and spending promises for mental health services.
Ms King has campaigned nationally as Shadow Health Minister on Labor’s plans on Medicare.
Locally, she has made several a community grant promises as well as the wider regional infrastructure pledges.
The national campaigns have barely wavered from the jobs and growth and health themes in the long eight-week campaign.
This will come as no surprise to those who have voted at Ballarat’s busy pre-polling centres.
It is estimated over a third of the 110,793 people registered to vote in Ballarat will have cast their ballots by July 2.
Data from June 30 from the Australian Electoral Commission said over 22,000 people in the electorate had gone into early voting centres and 10,000 submitting postal votes.
Ms King could already be sitting on a few thousand votes as over 5000 people sent their ballots to the AEC through her office.
Follow Saturday’s election results at thecourier.com.au from 6pm with crosses to the local party events and analysis of the battle for Ballarat.