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Labor Pull Ahead In Polls But Shouty Debate Ends With No Clear Winner Declared

Federal Labor is ahead in the polls with less than two weeks until election day, as the second leaders' debate was declared a draw. 

The latest results from two polls show Labor is the preferred party as early voting begins from Monday.

An Ipsos poll published in the Australian Financial Review reveals Labor is leading 52 per cent to 40 per cent for the coalition on a two-party preferred basis.

If undecided voters are discounted, the result was 57 per cent for Labor against 43 per cent for the coalition.

A Newspoll published in The Australian showed two-party support for Labor was at 54 per cent against 46 per cent for the coalition.

Asked if the coalition was looking at losing office at the May 21 federal election, Finance Minister Simon Birmingham played down both poll results. "Australians saw last time that polls can be terribly wrong and that, ultimately, the decision is in their hands," he told Seven Network on Monday.

"So all the way through to Saturday week we will be fighting for every vote." In 2019, voter polls consistently pointed to a Labor win under Bill Shorten but Scott Morrison was able to claim victory for the coalition.

Mr Morrison and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese went head-to-head in the second leaders' debate on Sunday night on Channel Nine's 60 Minutes program.

Asked who won the often feisty and shouty debate, viewers were evenly split 50-50 between the men vying for the nation's top job.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said a lot of voters, up to 20 per cent, were still to make up their minds.

"We need to get calm, start talking about the policies that we have for Australia moving forward and reflect on what we've achieved," he told Nine Network.

While the debate was declared a draw, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said people should not read too much into it.

"A lot of it gets raided and people storm in and party operatives storm in, so I don't take much notice of it," he told the Seven Network. "It's obviously high tension because we're coming into a federal election and that's what you expect." Labor frontbencher Tanya Plibersek said the opposition leader had a clear plan. "Scott Morrison turned up with a bunch of excuses ... Scott Morrison keeps saying you can do nothing about wages and cost of living," she said.

The Australian Electoral Commission is urging people to plan their vote amid the backdrop of the pandemic.

About 550 early voting centres will be operational nationwide in the lead up to polling day.

Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers said despite the AEC's planning, services could still be impacted by COVID-19.

He said there were plenty of voting options for people who could not turn up on election day.

"Australian elections are in-person, community events held once every three years and built around election day, so if you can vote on election day then that's what you should do," Mr Rogers said.

"We ask for all Australians to be patient. We have all learned to adjust our service expectations throughout COVID.

"There will be some queues which is why everyone needs to plan their vote." The Ipsos poll also showed 41 per cent of respondents named Mr Albanese as their preferred prime minister, against 36 per cent for Mr Morrison.

In the Newspoll, Mr Morrison was at 44 per cent in the better prime minister stakes, against 42 per cent for Mr Albanese.