CANBERRA, May 13 (Xinhua) -- The opposition Australian Labor Party (ALP) maintained lead, according to local opinion polls before Saturday's general election.
According to the latest Newspoll, which was published on Sunday night, the ALP has maintained its 51-49 lead over the incumbent Liberal-National Party coalition (LNP) on a two-party preferred basis.
If replicated nationwide at the election, that narrow lead, according to the Newspoll, would result in Labor winning power after six years in opposition.
While the two-party result was unchanged, Newspoll found that ALP leader Bill Shorten has closed the gap on Prime Minister (PM) Scott Morrison as Australia's preferred leader.
Of the respondents to the poll, 38 percent identified Shorten as their preferred PM, up from 35 percent earlier in May while Morrison's support fell from 46 to 45 percent.
Morrison's net satisfaction rating, measured by subtracting the number of voters who disapprove of his performance from those who approve of it, was 0 while Shorten's was -10.
Newspoll found that Labor will receive 37 percent of primary votes in the general election compared to 39 percent for the LNP.
By comparison the LNP received about 42 percent of first preference votes in the 2016 election, which it won by the slimmest possible margin, while Labor received only 34 percent.
Morrison on Sunday formally launched his election campaign at an event in Melbourne, making an appeal to young voters by announcing that a re-elected LNP will lower the deposit requirement for first home buyers to 5 percent, according to The Australian.
Housing affordability has been one of the biggest issues for the LNP since it won power in 2013.
The commitment was matched by Labor within hours, attacking it as a "desperate" ploy to win votes before polling day.
Sunday was Shorten's 52nd birthday while Morrison turned 51. Neither leader took time to celebrate the milestones, however, with the campaign taking precedence.
With both parties having now set out their vision for Australia, the final week of the campaign will be focused on campaigning in specific electorates where they believe the election will be won or lost.