An exit poll says it's too early to predict the outcome of the first South Korean elections since a deadly ferry sinking in April. The balloting is widely seen as a test of public sentiment toward President Park Geun-hye's handling of the disaster.

The poll predicted Park's conservative Saenuri Party and the liberal main opposition party would each win five of 17 important mayoral and provincial governor posts in Wednesday's elections. The poll, jointly conducted by the SBS, KBS and MBC television networks, says the remaining seven key races are too close to call.

Park's approval ratings have plummeted since the April 16 disaster, which left more than 300 people dead or missing and led to an outpouring of rage.

Official election results are expected late Wednesday.