Actor and possible future politician Matthew McConaughey would stomp GOP Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in a race for the state’s top job, according to a new poll.
The “Magic Mike” actor said last month that he’s seriously considering running for governor of his home state.
“I do think I have some things to teach and share,” McConaughey said. “What is my role? What’s my category in my next chapter of life that I’m going into?”
That was apparently enough of a platform for a hefty 45% of registered Texas voters to say they’d pick McConaughey to be the next governor while only 33% would go for Abbott, according to a survey by The Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler released Sunday. Some 22% of those surveyed said they’d pick someone else.
While Abbott would receive 56% of registered Republican voters, McConaughey would grab a not-too-shabby 30% of GOP voters, the poll found. The actor appeals to 44% of independent voters while only 28% said they’d vote for Abbott. Some 66% of Democratic voters said they would go for the actor and only 8% would back Abbott.
More than twice as many Democratic primary voters — 51% — said they wanted a progressive candidate for governor than wanted a centrist (25%). McConaughey has indicated he leans “aggressively centric,” but appears to actually stand to the right of that assessment, given his attacks on the “illiberal left.” It’s not even clear which party’s ticket he’d run on.
Mark Harp, a Texas construction manager and conservative independent voter, compared McConaughey’s appeal to Trump’s in that he’s a political outsider who attacks the system as corrupt.
“He’s popular, he’s colorful, and he’s not afraid to tell it like it is,” Harp told The Dallas Morning News. “He has some of the same qualities of Donald Trump and that will play well in Texas.”
Only 20% of GOP primary voters said they preferred a more centrist Republican; 18% wanted someone more like Trump. Fourteen percent would support someone even more conservative than Abbott, according to the poll.
Observers on Twitter weren’t super excited about the poll’s findings. Those who don’t love McConaughey or his politics or his lack of experience talked up former Texas congressman and Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke for governor instead:
The poll was conducted April 6-13 and surveyed 1,126 registered voters. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.92 percentage points.
Check out the full Dallas Morning News story and poll details here.