General Election: We let the people speak

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Party leaders (clockwise from top left): David Cameron (Conservatives); Ed Miliband (Labour); Nigel Farage (UKIP); Natalie Bennett (Greens); Nicola Sturgeon (Scottish Nationalists); Nick Clegg (Lib Dems). Pics © Twitter

Party leaders (clockwise from top left): David Cameron (Conservatives); Ed Miliband (Labour); Nigel Farage (UKIP); Natalie Bennett (Greens); Nicola Sturgeon (Scottish Nationalists); Nick Clegg (Lib Dems). Leader pics © Twitter

Thursday’s General Election offers little in the way of certainty as the nation prepares to vote for its next leader, with most pundits predicting that none of the main parties will be able to form a majority government.

While the political commentators speculate on the likely outcome of what could well be another coalition administration, JMU Journalism sent a team of more than 60 reporters out onto the streets of Liverpool to ask 300 people in the city: “What do you think is the most important issue in this General Election?”

It was clear from the answers that the National Health Service was the decisive factor among the public, as the NHS was the most popular reply (77) – more than double that of any other response.

Top 10 answers

National Health Service – 77

Education / tuition fees – 34

Immigration – 34

Voter mistrust / apathy – 29

The economy – 23

Employment / zero hours contracts / minimum wage – 20

Transparency / leadership – 12

Housing – 11

OAPs and pensions – 9

Change of government – 9

Pat Jenkins, 78, of Anfield said: “The National Health Service because I don’t think there is enough money being put in to it. They are not treating the nurses the way that they should. It’s completely unfair for all the people that work there to be expected to do the impossible. Instead of putting the money in they are dragging it out and putting it elsewhere.”

In our survey, more than 10% of the answers (34) pointed to education and tuition fees as the focal point, while the same number highlighted immigration as the main concern – though some of those who stated that claimed too much is being made of it.

Karla Welsby, 35, of Liverpool said: “Immigration is a big issue for me. Not to cap it completely but to put a system in place where only people we need can come and live and work here.”

However, 42-year-old Marc McClean of Liverpool said: “I think not to get too carried away with immigration. People think it’s the cause of so many problems when it clearly isn’t. That’s the main thing that I’m concerned with myself. I don’t think there’s much choice with the parties but it’s a case of the lesser evil here.”

Trust in our politicians emerged as another key theme, with 67-year-old Joyce Andrews of Liverpool saying: “The thing is honesty but do you ever get honesty from the policies that they’re giving you? It’s very difficult because you can’t trust what they’re saying.”

Scroll through the edited comments below to read all the responses from our exclusive street poll.

Additional reporting by: Josh Hodge; Victoria Howkins; Matthew Maguire; Jessica Harris; Sam Heyhirst; Hollie Hayes; Kallem Morris; Amy Hendrie; Arun Lal; Laura Hughes; James Harrison; James Jones; Gareth McCullough; Natalie McGill; Lewis Jennings; Emma Bartley-Cassidy; Poppy Backshall; Hamish Edmondson; Demi Cochrane; Tom Begbie; Paige Freshwater; Cai Griffiths-Sturge; Rebecca Cleverley; Josh Doherty; Molly Copoc; Rhys Edmondson; Cheyenne Hansen; Alistair Baker; Nicole Quinn; Savannah Wylde; Eleanor Peters; Gabrielle Walsh; Cieran Simpson; Amber Roberts; Matthew Noonan; Lauren Reece; Aaliyah Rugg; Rosie Steedman; Gabriella Sanghera; Andrew Nuttall; Connor Bennett; Lauren Walker; Danyaal Yasin; Sarah Williams; Nuhamin Yadata; David Purcell; Alex Bradley; Isabel Eaton; Andrew Livingstone; Sochi Kondo; Andrew Cook; Amelia Eccleson-Davies; Kerri Fitzpatrick; Paul Greenough; Kriston Murphy; Damien Horwood; Bethany Vaughan; Christella Twagirayezu; Gemma Abbey; Lucy Fegan & Nathan Archer.