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Moir predicts election outcome

Cartoonist Alan Moir sketches his prediction on who will win the election.

Newspaper editorials have soured Labor's chances of retaining office, with News Ltd newspapers in the crucial states of NSW and Queensland pledging their support for the Coalition.

Joining its Murdoch stablemates in a near-universal backing of Tony Abbott, Sydney's Daily Telegraph dedicated its front page to the issue.

Fairfax Media newspapers The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald recommended the re-election of Prime Minister Julia Gillard, with the Herald arguing she deserves a second chance.

Backed by News Limited newspapers ... The Australian and Sydney's Daily Telegraph.

Backed by News Limited newspapers ... The Australian and Sydney's Daily Telegraph think Tony Abbott is the best choice to lead the nation. Photo: Glen McCurtayne

Daily Telegraph editor Garry Linnell wrote that Labor is "in a sick state" and "only a stint in opposition can give it the opportunity to rediscover its moral compass".

He also wrote "it is laughable to suggest that we should view federal Labor through a completely different prism" to the unpopular NSW government.

In Queensland, a state which has a handful of seats that could decide the election, The Courier-Mail also backed Mr Abbott.

The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age have backed Prime Minister Julia Gillard, seen here enjoying a drink in Raymond Terrace last night.

The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age have backed Prime Minister Julia Gillard, seen here enjoying a drink in Raymond Terrace last night. Photo: Andrew Meares

The paper said the "nation will be better for their [the Coalition's] return to government", adding that Ms Gillard was partly responsible for the government's "many failures".

The Herald Sun in Melbourne also backed Mr Abbott, despite noting that "neither of the major parties was truly up to the job".

"This is not about throwing out a government after its first term. This is about holding a government to account," it said.

Federal election 2010: seats to watch FULL RESULTS: Click on the map to see how the seats fell.

News Ltd's Advertiser in Adelaide  backed Ms Gillard, who grew up in South Australia.

"Ms Gillard and Labor should be given a second chance," it wrote.

"That vote should be made with the clear understanding that the time for dithering is over."

The Sydney Morning Herald wrote that Ms Gillard "has done enough to be given a chance to lead the nation". The editorial also said: "We will be back here in three years or less – and then we will be able truly and fairly to judge Gillard and her government."

The Age in Melbourne wrote that "the government should be returned, because of this successful economic stewardship and so that it can resume the project of adapting Australia to meet the challenges of the 21st century".

The newspaper also believes Ms Gillard's "vision must now be broadened, emphasising not only infrastructure but internationally competitive higher education and strategic population growth, if Australia is to be well positioned by 2013 and beyond".

The Australian - which recommended a vote for Kevin Rudd in 2007 - backed Mr Abbott.

The editorial said "Kevin Rudd's big-government experiment was a disaster".

The Australian said it regretted "taking Mr Rudd at his word in 2007 when he presented as an economic conservative who believed governments step in only when markets fail".

"The trouble was markets were deemed to have failed when Mr Rudd decided they had failed, and that was often. Long before the global financial crisis, the dead hand of government was touching the private sector in inappropriate places, and its behaviour grew steadily worse," it wrote.

Fairfax's The Australian Financial Review also backed the election of Mr Abbott, writing that "the Coalition would be less likely to waste taxpayers' money on risky projects than Labor".

The newspaper said it preferred the Coalition to Labor because the government "allows focus groups and unions to decide national policy and who should be prime minister".

Hobart's Mercury, a News Ltd newspaper, took a different stance, writing there was ‘‘no mood’’ and ‘‘no compelling reason’’ for a change in government."

"As the parties have made character and leadership a key question, Ms Gillard has done nothing that deserves her being booted from office,’’ it said.

News Ltd's Sydney Sunday Telegraph and Melbourne's Sunday Herald Sun both backed Ms Gillard, as did Fairfax Media's Sun-Herald and The Sunday Age.

Brisbane's Sunday Mail backed Mr Abbott, as did the The West Australian, mainly because of his promise to scrap the controversial mining tax.

The newspaper said the Coalition is the ‘‘safest option’’ after a campaign built around trust.

The Northern Territory News wrote that Labor has "earned" a second term, reminding readers it steered Australia through the global financial crisis.

The paper said Labor had brutally dumped Kevin Rudd, but warned readers against submitting a protest vote.