(CNN) - Hours before Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick holds a town meeting on the economy, a new poll could spell trouble for his re-election efforts.
Forty-seven percent of people questioned in a Suffolk University survey released Wednesday night say it's time for elect someone else for governor, with 34 percent saying Patrick deserves to be re-elected. Last June, Massachusetts voters were split on whether it was time to give someone else a chance as governor.
The poll also suggests that nearly half the state's voters don't like the job he's doing in office: Forty-nine percent of those polled disapprove of how Patrick's handling his duties as governor, with 40 percent in approval.
In 2006, Patrick became the first African-American to win election as Massachusetts governor, and only the second black man in U.S. history to win election as governor. Patrick is up for re-election next year.
"Patrick never had much of a honeymoon with Massachusetts voters," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "The very first polls just a couple of months after he took office already showed his approval rating below 50 percent. So it's unclear whether the latest numbers show the effect of a weak economy on incumbents, or whether they show something specific to Patrick.
But Holland warns it's unclear whether the latest numbers indicate what will happen in an election that is about 20 months away, calling the showing an early-warning sign, not a prediction that Patrick will lose if he runs for re-election.
The Suffolk University poll of 800 Massachusetts voters was conducted by telephone March 17-20, and has a sampling error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.