100 days until voting day - what our panel thinks so far

Katherine Poll is a graduate for the EDP's Election Panel. Picture: Ian Burt

Katherine Poll is a graduate for the EDP's Election Panel. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

The Tories and Labour are running neck and neck while the Liberal Democrats trail in fifth place behind Ukip and the Greens, according to the latest polling by Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft.

The weekly Ashcroft National Poll - which comes with 100 days to go until voters go to the polls - puts the Conservatives on 32pc - up three points on the previous week and level-pegging with Labour which is up four points.

Ukip is unchanged on 15pc, while the Greens are down two points on 9pc and the Lib Dems down three on 6pc.

Lord Ashcroft polls interviewed 1,001 adults by telephone between January 23 and 25.

Here's what our panel think:

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Gary Parkins

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Gary Parkins, 47, lives in Norwich with his wife Michelle and his two children, Sophie, 10 and Jack, 6.

He is a train guard, mainly on the Norwich to London line.

She said that it seemed that nobody wanted to win.

'They all seem to be putting their foot in it.'

'The Green leader says she does not believe people should be banned from joining ISIS and David Cameron is in trouble over this UKIP defection.'

'I am really looking forward to the televised debates because there are so many parties involved. They should use the Weakest Link studio and get Anne Robinson to ask questions. That could be good for viewing figures.'

He said he did not feel there had been much talk about policies and he wanted more detail from the manifestos.

'It has been the weirdest run into an election I have ever known. It just seems to be that we are going to have a permanant coalition. PEople getting into bed with people they don't really want to. It seems there is going to be a weird melting pot.'

He said he believed the big election issue would be the NHS.

He said that he doctor was fairly good, but in the last few months it had been hard to get an appointment as they were so short staffed and under pressure.

Jacob Stirling

Jacob Stirling, 18, is currently doing A-levels in politics, law and psychology at the City of Norwich School (CNS).

The first time voter said he had been struck by Prime Minister David Cameron's attempts to avoid televised debates, saying that it could have been because of his fear of the UK Independence Party. 'It does make him look weak.'

He said that he believed Labour had the advantage when it came to the NHS, with the recently published hospital waiting times.

'I think Labour do have a track record as there was an improvement when they were in Government.'

The Mulbarton student said that while those studying politics at schools were interested in the upcoming election, there were many at his school who said they were not going to vote because of the perception that parts of Norfolk had always been Conservative, and was likely to stay that way and it would not make a difference.

'I think it should be compulsory.'

'I have seen nothing of MPs, and have not been canvassed, but that might be because I live in a small village,' he said.

He said that he would like to hear the parties talk more about education - and particularly on tuition fees in the coming 100 days.

'I would like to see more taxes for the wealthy, not just the rewarding of the wealthy,' he said.

Janet Cutting

Janet Cutting, 63, lives with her 56-year-old husband Tony, and her 22-year-old daughter in Long Stratton.

She retired in 2010. Her husband was medically retired from his job at Norfolk County Council in December 2009 and receives a council pension, while she receives a state pension.

She said none of the main parties had yet convinced her to vote for them. 'Everybody is making claims of this, that and the other, but nobody has any bright ideas. Everybody is going to spend money on the NHS, but not saying where it is going to come from. I haven't formed an opinion on any of them.' She also said she felt there was too muchy political point scoring.

Mrs Cutting said that most of the big speeches so far had not felt relevant - but the NHS was a big issue for her and her husband, who relied on services.

'Our surgery is one of the best here, but I can see there is a crisis. There are not enough doctors and nurses because they don't pay them enough. We need to put money into the NHS.'

She questioned the need for overseas aid, claiming that while she supporting money being spent on the Ebola crisis and disasters such as tsunamis, she felt countries were receiving overseas aid that did not need it.

'You need to help your own first. They are sending money to lots of places that don't need it these days.'

In the coming 100 days she said she wanted to hear more on education, because her daughter was training to be a teacher, and the armed forces, because her son was employed there.

Mrs Cutting, who looks after her grandchildren because her children could not afford childcare, said she also wanted to hear more about what the parties were going to do to help.

Despite being on a main road in Long Stratton, she has not yet been visited by the contenders for the seat.

Katherine Poll

Katherine Poll, 22, graduated from Aberystwyth University with a degree in English Literature last year.

She is currently working on weekdays as a clerical assistant at an academy-status high school in King's Lynn, and weekends as a waitress.

She has recently moved back to her family home to live with my mother and younger sister.

She said that there had not been much that had caught her eye and she felt much of the news had been dominated by talk of the television debates.

'I would really like to see television debates. They will make people interested. It is something the people do watch and it will be on the news.'

She said that she felt both of the main parties - Labour and the Conservatives - were being too retaliatory, and focusing on the UK Independence Parties and other minor parties rather than standing their own ground.

She said that she would like to hear more about education, and less about immigration, which had been too much of a focus, and while she was not directly needed the NHS at the moment, it was an important issue.

'I would say Labour is winning in that area [the NHS].'

She said that Labour proposals for a mansion tax to fund improvements in the NHS seemed sensible.

But added: 'At this time of year there always seems to be a bigger strain on the NHS. It seems to be a regular occurrence.

While she has not seen lots of candidates knocking on her door, she said it was early days and she expected more activity as polling day got closer.

Michael Holmes

Michael Holmes, 69, a retired grandparent who lives in Sheringham with his wife said that he had always believed the big issues for the election were immigration, the NHS and the economy, but he would also add education to his concerns.

He said his big conundrum was whether to vote for an 'excellent' and 'respected' local MP who was part of a party that would be in a disarray in May.

'It is a difficult conundrum. Do we stick with a candidate who works very hard or make a decision about wider issues,' he said.

He said that he saw the upcoming election as the most significant in his lifetime, but said: 'Nobody convinces me about anything. Ed Miliband and Labour just simply do not. The thought of Mr Balls being in charge of the economy frightens the life out of me, but I am not overly excited about some of the things the Conservatives are doing. Politics I think is in a certain amount of turmoil.'

He raised concerns about Labour 'jumping on the bandwagon' over the 'deterioration' of the NHS, claiming that even though targets were being missed that 8.5 out of 10 people being seen within four hours was good.

'The NHS in my experience, and that of my family, has always been superb.'

But he said that he believed there were many people who were concerned about the level of overseas aid. 'We are looking after dams in India and we are letting Somerset sink,' he said.

'Everybody said the amount of money we give to overseas aid when we can't look after our own needs is deplorable. I know we have to have an overseas aid policy, but it is quite wrong.'

He has not had any contact with candidates, adding: 'We haven't had a word from anybody'.

'People are talking about it in cafes, but there has been no vibrancy. People don't know when it will start. At the moment we have not had one promotional correspondence. It is leaving it a bit late to help people make their decisions,' he added.

Rory Sexton

Rory Sexton, 34, lives in Mileham with his wife and three young children and runs an internet-based holiday car hire business from an office in Dereham, which employs 19 people.

He said that he felt that the parties were still lacking detail, particularly Labour's plans for a mansion tax.

'The parties have got to come up with some detail in their manifesto. In the next 100 days it has got to start happening.'

He said that a key issue for him was the NHS, but he did not feel Labour had the answer.

'I daresay if Labour was in Government, the NHS would not be any better off. I think health care is a vastly expensive business, and it is just going to become more expensive. Whichever party is in power there would still be problems with the NHS. I think maybe the only way is to have a separate tax for it. The main thing is that we are all going to get looked after.

'This issue with the crisis of the NHS is a bit rich for Labour to say as the NHS in Wales has more of a crisis. It is the pot calling the kettle black,' he added.

Mr Sexton said that he had not yet had contact with candidates for Westminster. 'We have had something from our local councillor, but not from our MPs. 'We are busy so maybe they are coming around at the wrong time of the day.'

He said that the set piece speeches were important in giving people an idea about how good the leaders were,

He said he wanted to hear more about how housing problems would be tackled, and we pro-immigration which was needed for the NHS and in Norfolk for agriculture.

But he said he wanted to hear more in the manifestos. 'So far we can only really go on past performance,' he said

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