AUSTIN (KXAN) — Oscar-winning Texan Matthew McConaughey could give incumbent Governor Greg Abbott a race of cinematic proportions in the 2022 election.
That’s according to a recently released poll from The Dallas Morning News and University of Texas Tyler, which surveyed 1,126 registered adult voters — a group composed of 30% Democrats, 37% Republicans and 33% who don’t identify as either.
Results showed 45% of voters would support McConaughey over Abbott if the actor decided to run for governor. Thirty-three percent said they’d support Abbott over McConaughey and 22% said they’d vote for someone else.
McConaughey’s teased a political run in his home state for several months, but so far hasn’t officially committed.
In March, the 51 year-old told CNBC he’s absolutely not joking.
“I’m not teasing the idea — I’m actually looking at the idea and giving it serious consideration,” McConaughey told CNBC’s Carl Quintanilla. “I have a new chapter for myself, personally in my life. I believe it is in some sort of leadership role. I don’t know what that role is. I don’t know my category. We’ve been talking about the ‘why’ of leadership and even, I would say, we need some more good leaders.”
McConaughey, who published his first book “Greenlights,” late last year, has described himself as “aggressively centrist” and frequently calls for unity during an increasingly polarizing political climate.
“We’ve gotten to this spot where, ‘You voice your opinion and it opposes mine. My gut reaction — our gut reaction — is ‘Oh, you must be saying that at the exclusion of mine’… If I say I’m a believer, someone will say ‘Oh, you must not believe in science.’ Well, I didn’t say that, I’m a believer and I believe in science…two different opinions can exist at the same time,” he said in March.
But it doesn’t look like centrist ideas would help McConaughey in a race for Texas governor.
Only 25% of Democrats polled said they’d support a centrist candidate and even fewer Republicans (20%) said they would.
Despite McConaughey’s favorability, Republican Abbott, who’s served as governor since 2015, remained relatively popular among those polled, with 21% strongly approving of his performance and 29% approving — while 16% disapproved of his performance and 20% strongly disapproved.
Ever-present in any discussion about a celebrity running for political office is the question if they should.
In the wake of the election of Donald Trump to president, the idea of celebrities in politics — although not a new one — appears to have become more palatable to Americans. An April poll by consumer research platform Piplsay found 63% of those polled said they believe Hollywood stars can make good politicians with the right attitude and staff.
Fifty-eight percent of those polled said they’d like to see McConaughey run for governor and/or Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson run for president. Johnson, former professional wrestler and now one of Hollywood’s highest paid actors, has teased a run for the White House over the past few months.
The “Jumanji” and “Fast and Furious” franchise star recently told the TODAY Show, “I do have that goal to unite our country and I also feel that if this is what the people want, then I will do that.”