AUSTIN, Texas — Matthew McConaughey has said he would be a fool not to honestly consider running for governor in his home state of Texas. A poll released Sunday shows that the Academy Award-winning actor isn’t the only one considering the valid possibility of a McConaughey governorship.
The star of “The Dallas Buyers Club” and the Minister of Culture at the University of Texas garnered more support for governor than incumbent Greg Abbott, according to a poll by The Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler released Sunday.
In a hypothetical contest, McConaughey garners 45% support, with Abbott getting 33% and 22% saying they would vote for someone else, according to the poll.
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But Abbott remains likeable in Texas, especially among Republicans. The poll showed that 50% of respondents approve of the way Abbott is handing his job as governor, with 36% disapproving and 15% saying neither.
The poll, conducted April 6-13, comprised 37% self-identifying Republicans, 30% Democrats and 33% no party affiliation. The poll surveyed 1,126 registered voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.92 percentage points.
The majority of McConaughey’s support came from the Democratic respondents, 66% of whom chose McConaughey over the other two possibilities, with 44% of independents doing the same, and 30% of Republican voters saying they would vote for the actor over the governor or an unspecified third party.
Would a centrist view work for Matthew McConaughey?
McConaughey told the American-Statesman in March that he had not gone so far as to consider which party, if any, he would affiliate with in a gubernatorial run, but he made clear that his politics hew to the middle.
“I’m a ‘Meet You in the Middle’ man,” McConaughey said. “When I say ‘aggressively centric,’ that sometimes gets parceled over there with ‘Oh, that’s a shade of gray, a compromise.’ And I say, ‘B********. That’s a dare. Right now, that’s radical. You wanna be brave? Come on over here.’ Why? Because you got more agility, cause you got more adaptability. Because there’s different situations for different sides. Sometimes the left is better at this, sometimes the right. There’s different choices for different circumstances.”
Given the response of the voters questioned in the recent poll, McConaughey’s desire to stay in the middle may make for tricky political calculus in a two-party system.
When asked if they would most likely support Abbott, someone more centrist, more conservative, or more like Donald Trump in a Republican Party, Republicans polled said they would prefer Abbott (47%), followed by a more centrist candidate (20%), with someone like Donald Trump (18%) or a more conservative candidate (14%) coming in third and fourth.
Among Democrats, 51% polled said they would prefer a progressive gubernatorial candidate, 25% a moderate choice and 24% declaring they did not know.
McConaughey told the Statesman last month that he doesn’t think one party or another can claim ownership of any set of values or virtues, and he doesn’t believe broad stereotypes of either are fair or accurate.
“The left thinks the right’s racist and the right thinks the left’s socialist. Well, that ain’t true,” McConaughey said. “Then you go, well, the left is for empathy, compassion and solidarity; well the right’s for resilience and work ethic and responsibility. I’m like, I like all six of those. Those are values that our mamas taught us. The right and the left don’t have ownership of those, excluding the other side.”
A representative for McConaughey said the actor had no immediate comment on the poll.
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