McConaughey Holds 12-Point Lead Over Abbott, According to Poll - Texas Scorecard

The possibility of having Matthew McConaughey in the Governor’s Mansion could be greater than previously thought, although the actor has yet to declare his candidacy. 

According to a joint poll done by The Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler, 45 percent of registered Texas voters would vote for Matthew McConaughey, only 33 percent would vote for Gov. Greg Abbott, and 22 percent would vote for other candidates. The sample makeup was 1,126 registered Texas voters, with a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percent.

Among Republicans, however, 56 percent said they would still vote for Abbott, and 30 percent said they would vote for McConaughey. His centrist persona may be why he is not polling higher among Republicans or Democrats.

For instance, though the poll showed Democrats supporting the actor with margins of 66 percent to 8 percent, only 25 percent claimed they would back a centrist candidate, while 51 percent demanded a progressive. This explains why McConaughey has support from a plurality of independents, breaking 44 percent to 28 percent in his favor. 

Regarding Republican support, only 20 percent say they would vote for a centrist Republican, while 14 percent wanted a Donald Trump-type figure, and 18 percent said they want someone even more conservative.

Mark Owens, a UT-Tyler poll director and political scientist, explained these numbers, claiming McConaughey’s high approval was a result of “tremendous name recognition and recognition for what he does to help Texans and add to the celebration of the state’s successes.” 

This comes after McConaughey said he was still considering a run for Texas governor last month, calling it “a very honorable consideration” in an interview with Al Roker. “What I’ve got to choose for myself is, I want to get into a leadership role in the next chapter of my life,” he added. “Now, what role am I going to be most useful in? I don’t know that that’s in a political position or if that’s me as a free agent. So that’s something I’m personally working on: What is my position of most use in a leadership role?”

If McConaughey ran for Texas governor, he would not be the first celebrity to get into politics. In 2003, actor Arnold Schwarzenegger ran for California governor and won. Even in 1966, actor Ronald Reagan ran for the same position, defeating unpopular governor Jerry Brown by a landslide. Overall, time will tell if Texas will be the next state to elect a Hollywood actor as governor.