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Matthew McConaughey for governor of Texas? Actor shows strong numbers in new poll

Matthew McConaughey in February 2020.Evan Agostini/Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Alright, alright, alright.

Matthew McConaughey, who has been flirting with a run for Texas governor, would have considerable support from voters should he decide to enter the race, according to a new poll.

The poll, published Sunday from The Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler, found that 40 percent of respondents want the Academy Award-winning actor to run.

Thirty-three percent of the 1,106 registered voters polled said they didn’t want McConaughey to join the race, while 27 percent said they were indifferent.

When it came to head-to-head matchups with possible competitors, McConaughey came out on top each time. Voters indicated more support for the “Dallas Buyers Club” actor when paired against the incumbent governor, Republican Greg Abbott, and Beto O’Rourke, the former Democratic representative and Texas Senate candidate who just last week announced he was entering the gubernatorial race.


Asked whether they would support McConaughey or Abbott, 43 percent said they would back McConaughey compared to Abbott’s 35 percent. Twenty-two percent of voters said they would prefer someone else entirely.

When facing off against O’Rourke, the margin of support for the actor was considerably greater. Forty-nine percent said they’d support McConaughey to O’Rourke’s 27 percent, while 19 percent of those polled said they would be more likely to support another candidate.

When given the option of all three candidates in a hypothetical race, Abbott had the edge with 37percent, followed by McConaughey at 27 percent, and O’Rourke at 26 percent, according to the poll.

The poll was conducted from Nov. 9 to 16 and had a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3.2 percentage points.

McConaughey’s possible candidacy has raised some eyebrows. His eccentric on-screen personas, to some, may not evoke the image of a leader of the country’s second-largest state by population, though there is certainly precedent for Hollywood figures to successfully move into politics.


McConaughey is a Texas native who attended the University of Texas at Austin. He hasn’t committed to jumping into the race yet, nor has he identified a party affiliation, saying he is “measuring” a run. On a podcast last month with The New York Times’s Kara Swisher, he questioned whether politics was an avenue through which he could implement “real change” and said he was in the process of “learning about politics.”

“I’m also noting where I’m going, eh, don’t know about politics,” McConaughey said. “Ooh, is that a place to make real change, or is it a place where, hey, right now, it’s a fixed game.”

He said he considers himself to be “aggressively centrist,” which he described as a potentially dangerous position.

“I don’t know if you can walk down the center and not be in trouble,” he said. “It can be very hard down the center.”

Amanda Kaufman can be reached at amanda.kaufman@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @amandakauf1.