Support for Abbott plunging in Texas: poll

Texas Gov. Greg AbbottGreg AbbottMcConaughey says he won't seek political office 'at this moment' Democratic frustration growing over stagnating voting rights bills One-quarter in Texas unwilling, unlikely to get vaccinated: poll MORE's (R) job performance rating has fallen sharply, according to a new poll that shows a majority of Texans now disapprove of him.

Forty-five percent of Texans approve of Abbott's performance as governor, while 54 percent say the state is headed in the wrong direction, according to the survey from The Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler. 

Abbott's approval rating was at 59 percent prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed the lives of more than 60,000 people in the state, The Dallas Morning News noted

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These fatalities, coupled with Abbott's "right turn" and stance on hot-button issues such as abortion, the border wall, guns and COVID-19-related mandates, may have contributed to his falling ratings, according to the newspaper. 

Some of Abbott's notable recent agenda items include banning abortions as early as six weeks, allowing people to carry concealed handguns without permits and banning the teaching of critical race theory. 

Pollsters said respondents were divided on these issues, with 48 percent saying the abortion law should be overturned and 50 percent disagreeing. 

Another 50 percent said they opposed the concealed carry policy, and 56 percent said teachers should be "permitted to discuss how historical examples of discrimination in our laws apply to inequalities today."

The poll also found that 37 percent of respondents said they would vote for Abbott's potential 2022 opponent Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeO'Rourke seizes on Texas power grid in bid against Abbott McConaughey on Texas run: 'I will let you know shortly' O'Rourke raises M in first 24 hours of Texas governor campaign MORE, putting the former congressman just 5 percentage points behind Abbott. 

The survey had Texas resident Matthew McConaughey 9 points ahead of Abbott, with 44 percent of respondents saying they would vote for the actor.  

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Neither O'Rourke nor McConaughey has officially declared a run for office.

In the 2020 presidential election, former President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer defense secretary Esper sues Pentagon in memoir dispute Biden celebrates start of Hanukkah Fauci says lies, threats are 'noise' MORE won the state of Texas by just 5.6 points, and Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzGermany calls on Congress not to sanction Nord Stream 2 pipeline: report Fauci says lies, threats are 'noise' Biden administration resists tougher Russia sanctions in Congress MORE's (R-Texas) 2018 victory against O'Rourke was even more narrow, The Dallas Morning News noted. 

The new poll of 1,148 registered voters was conducted Sept. 7 to Sept. 14 and has a margin of error of 2.9 percentage points.

This article was updated at 5:14 p.m. to correct Abbot's approval ratings.