Gov. Rick Perry's job approval rating, after rebounding earlier this year, slipped to 45 percent in a new poll released Wednesday.
Perry's job approval hit 51 percent earlier this year, his highest showing in three years of polling.
The governor also had one of the highest negative ratings — 35 percent — of state officials in the poll.
Unlike the SUSA poll, we are not provided with the internals, so we have no idea how Perry did by various subgroups, or if perhaps one particular subgroup was over- or under-represented. The nearest thing we have is this:
Among Republicans polled, 78 percent approve of [Senator Kay Bailey] Hutchison's job performance compared with 63 percent for Perry.
Other items from the poll:
Hutchison remained the most popular Texas politician with a 67 percent job approval rating that includes strong support across political lines.
More than half of Democrats, 55 percent, said Hutchison is doing a good job, as did 65 percent of independents.
Perry's other potential challenger, Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, received a 51 percent approval rating.
Her disapproval rating was only 12 percent, but 37 percent didn't know enough to offer an opinion.
Only 37 percent of those polled said they approve of the job the Legislature is doing, compared with 40 percent who disapprove.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst received a job approval rating of 42 percent, up from 35 percent a year ago.
President Bush remains popular with 58 percent of those polled, while Sen. John Cornyn remained steady from a year ago at 42 percent.
One last thing, regarding Perry's chances to improve on his performance:
His poll numbers will likely be tied to how effectively the Legislature performs, Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, told the Scripps Howard Austin Bureau for a story published in Thursday's editions.
"Whenever the Legislature is in session, almost anyone associated with state government sees a decline in popularity," Jillson said.
The regular session of the Legislature has less than three weeks left before adjournment. If the Legislature fails in its push to reform the state's public school finance system, Perry's poll numbers could get worse.
Of those polled, 37 percent said they approve of the job the Legislature is doing, compared with 40 percent who disapprove.
"In all likelihood he'll receive the blame or the credit for the legislation session," Jerry Polinard, a political science professor at the University of Texas-Pan American, told the Scripps Howard Austin Bureau. "If the session is deemed to be a success, Perry's numbers can go up."