About two thirds of Texans believe the country is headed in the wrong direction and the national economy is worse off compared to a year ago, according to the Texas Lyceum’s 2021 Texas Statewide Survey (PDF). Four in 10 adults believe the state’s economy is worse off than the country as a whole, nearly three times the percentage from a year ago.

Since 2007, at least a majority of Texans believed the country was on the wrong track in every annual survey except 2009. A year ago, 59% of Texans said the country was on track, up one point from 2019. It was the first Lyceum poll to show a majority believing the economy is worse off since 2009. Until this year, no Lyceum poll found more than 15% of Texans who believed the state’s economy was worse off than the rest of the country.

Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) job approval rating was 59/38, down slightly from the 63/34 rating he had in January 2020 and 67/33 in 2019. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s (R) approval rating was 50/39, down slightly from his 55/39 rating in 2020 and 60/35 in 2019. Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton’s (R) job approval rating was 49/39.

The COVID-19 pandemic was mentioned most often as the most important issue facing Texas (37%) and the country (29%). Abbott’s handling of the pandemic response received a 54/43 approval rating. Asked if they would “get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it becomes available to you,” 45% said they would, 26% said they would not and 24% were not sure. Eighty percent of those who would not get a vaccine or were not sure if they would get one cited safety concerns.

The poll of 1,200 adults was conducted in English and Spanish by phone and online. It was in the field January 8-17 and has a ±2.83% margin of error.

GOV: Former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso) indicated in interviews and on Twitter that he was considering challenging Gov. Greg Abbott (R).

Meanwhile, former San Antonio Mayor and Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro told KXAN it is “very unlikely” that he would seek elected office in 2022. “I don’t have a target in mind in terms of when I’m going to run again.”

Local Elections: Filing continues through February 12 for the May 1 general election ballot.

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