Phelps firm favourite to win Wentworth
With voters set take the fate of Scott Morrison's one-seat majority into their hands, at least one bookmaker has popular Independent Kerryn Phelps running well ahead in the battle for Wentworth.
Sportsbet has Dr Phelps at $1.40 odds to step into former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull's seat, with Liberal candidate Dave Sharma at $2.88.
Mr Turnbull triggered the October 20 by-election when he resigned from Parliament following his ousting as prime minister in August.
Should Mr Sharma lose the by-election, the Morrison Coalition government will lose its one-seat majority in the House of Representatives.
Despite the crowded field, Dr Phelps and Mr Sharma are the only two candidates with a chance at victory, with Sportsbet ranking Labor's Tim Murray as the third-most-likely winner at $14.
Given the ramifications for the government, the election has attracted national interest, and a fair share of controversy.
This week, Dr Phelps was the subject of a fake email claiming she was withdrawing from the electoral race because she had HIV.
Dr Phelps and Mr Sharma both condemned the email, with the latter labelling it "despicable" and supporting an Australian Electoral Commission investigation into the matter.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison generated his own controversy when he recently speculated that Australia's embassy in Israel could be relocated to Jerusalem.
Labor claimed the announcement was targeted at the Wentworth electorate's large Jewish community, which Mr Morrison denied.
The government appears worried Wentworth voters will punish them for ousting Mr Turnbull, with Liberal elder statesman and former prime minister John Howard hitting the campaign trail to plead for loyalty from angry voters.
Mr Howard said he understood voters would be angry, but urged them to "vent their spleen" in other ways.
Mr Turnbull himself has been largely absent during the campaign after an early endorsement of Mr Sharma.
This week, his Twitter account briefly liked a tweet by a Phelps campaign volunteer, but later reversed the action.
However, Mr Turnbull's son Alex has been far more vocal, urging voters to turn their backs on the Liberal party, which he claimed was unduly influenced by its conservative faction.
Dr Phelps, meanwhile, has denied any ambition to wound the government if she wins the seat.
She told 9NEWS governments "should run their full term".
The Liberal party last won the seat by a massive 18 percent margin, and has held the seat since the party was founded in 1944.