Candidates will come face to face with a disheartened, dispirited and frightened electorate with one-in-four people worried about losing their homes in 2011.
A deep anxiety now pervades in all classes of Irish society according to the Sunday Independent/MillwardBrown Lansdowne national opinion poll.
It means politicians calling door to door will meet angry voters at the end of their tether.
With 25 per cent now fearful of losing their home in 2011, candidates from the government parties in particular will meet rage and high emotion on the doorstep.
This is the first national opinion poll to quantify the worries of the Irish people since the EU/IMF bailout and the implementation of new taxes, including the Universal Social Charge.
Two-thirds (66 per cent) are worried about paying their household bills.
A majority (76 per cent) are worried about having to reduce their standard of living.
And nearly two-fifths (39 per cent) are worried about losing their job this year.
More detailed analysis of the poll findings show that it is Irish women who are bearing the brunt of the stress and fear from the economic collapse and the impact of the remedial measures introduced by government.
Women are more worried than men about household bills, paying the mortgage and facing a precipitous drop in their living standards.
In all, 70 per cent of women, compared with 61 per cent of men, are worried about meeting the household bills.
And 27 per cent of women are worried about losing their home compared with 23 per cent of men.
And the poll also shows that is the men and women at an age when they might be expected to have young families who are hurting most.
In all, 74 per cent of 25 to 34-year-olds and 75 per cent of 35 to 49-year-olds are worried about making ends meet and paying the bills.
And it is that age group -- broadly between 25 and 50 years -- who are most worried about losing their jobs, presumably because this is the age group which has most financial responsibilities and dependents.
That age group is also the most likely to be worried about losing their home. In all, 37 per cent of 25 to 34 year olds and 34 per cent of 35 to 49 year olds are worried about losing the roof over their heads this year.
This is the cohort most likely to have have bought their homes during the celtic tiger era and also the most likely to now be deep in negative equity.
Understandably, the unemployed are the most stressed and the most fearful with 91 per cent worried about the drop in their standard of living and 80 per cent worried about making ends meet.
In all 29 per cent of employees are worried about losing their home and the figure is also high among the self employed, at 23 per cent.