(CNN) - It's crunch time for Rick Perry.
The Texas governor and Republican presidential candidate kicks off a 44 stop bus tour across Iowa starting next Wednesday.
The Perry campaign says the tour will begin Dec. 14 in Council Bluffs, in the western part of the state, and will run through Saturday December 31. Iowa's Jan. 3 caucuses kick off the presidential primary and caucus season.
The Perry campaign has been running television commercials non-stop in the Hawkeye state the past couple of weeks, and an independent super PAC supporting the Texas governor is also up with spots on Iowa TV. The campaign has also brought hundreds of supporters and volunteers from Texas up to Iowa to help the candidate's get out the vote efforts.
Perry surged to front-runner status in national and Iowa polling soon after he launched his bid for the White House in mid-August, but after stumbles in Republican presidential debates this autumn, his numbers faded.
A CNN/Time/ORC International Poll released Wednesday indicated that 9% of likely Iowa GOP caucus goers said that Perry was their choice for their party's nominee, putting Perry in fourth place behind former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at 33%, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at 20% and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas at 17%.
Most political analysts and pundits say that Perry needs a strong finish in Iowa to keep his bid for the GOP nomination alive.
– Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PSteinhauserCNN