A poll released Sunday by The Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler shows Matthew McConaughey holding a significant lead over incumbent Greg Abbott in next year’s Texas Governor race.
While McConaughey hasn’t announced that he’s running, the poll, which surveyed 1,126 registered voters earlier this month, found that 45 percent of people would vote for McConaughey if he were to run, while 33 percent said they would be in favor re-electing Abbott, and 22 percent preferred to vote for someone else. However, Abbott’s commanding lead over McConaughey with Republican voters by a 56 to 30 percent margin signals that the Oscar-winning actor’s path to becoming the next governor of Texas could still be an uphill battle.
Even though McConaughey holds huge leads among Democrats (66 to 8) and independents (44 to 28), a non-Republican nominee hasn’t been elected Governor in Texas since Ann Richards in 1991. The last time Texas went blue was in 1976. While the Republican stranglehold over the state appears to be waning, it’s clear that the tide hasn’t turned just yet.
McConaughey’s interest in running for Governor of his home state has grown, judging from the confession in March that a bid was under “true consideration,” just four months after he told Stephen Colbert on the Late Show that he had “no plans” to run. If he does choose to take on Abbott, McConaughey will need to choose a party, and his previous remarks suggest that he skews more moderate.
In December, McConaughey criticized both sides for their extreme leanings after being called out for singling out “illiberals" and what he saw as their unwillingness to meet in the middle. “The extreme left and the extreme right completely illegitimize the other side, the liberal and conservative side, which we need in certain places,” he said. “The two extremes illegitimize those two sides. Or they exaggerate that side’s stance into an irrational state that makes no sense and that’s not fair when either side does that.”