Poll shows Matthew McConaughey ahead of Republican incumbent in Texas governor race

The actor has not formally entered the race for state governor

A new poll has found more Texans would vote for actor Matthew McConaughey than the current incumbent in a race for governor.

In a survey of 1,126 adults – conducted earlier this month by the University of Texas in Tyler – 45 per cent of respondents said they would vote for McConaughey, compared to the 33 per cent who said they would stick with Greg Abbott, the Republican incumbent. The remaining 22 per cent said they would vote for someone else.

McConaughey has not formally entered the race for Texas governor, but he has given it “true consideration”.

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While the numbers look promising for the actor, they get murkier when breaking down the political leanings of the survey respondents. Of the 37 per cent who identified as Republican voters, only 30 per cent said they would support McConaughey, compared to the 56 per cent who would vote for Abbott.

Among the 30 per cent of voters who identified as Democrats, two-thirds said they would vote for McConaughey over Abbott, who received eight per cent. However, more than half of Democratic voters said they would vote for a progressive candidate in the governor primaries over a centrist. This might hinder McConaughey’s chances, with the actor labelling himself as a centrist in the past.

Speaking to the Dallas Morning News, UT-Tyler political scientist Mark Owens, who directed the poll, said some Trump voters might be looking for a new big name to hook onto.

“Matthew McConaughey gets a huge boost from tremendous name recognition and recognition for what he does to help Texans and add to the celebration of the state’s successes,” Owens said.

“Most of our survey respondents know his story, but many are waiting to see how he opens his next chapter.”

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View the full survey results here.

The 2022 Texas gubernatorial election is currently scheduled for November. Abbott has already declared his intent to run in the Republic primaries.

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