A new poll may put some wind in actor Matthew McConaughey’s sails as he considers whether to run for governor of Texas.

Forty-five percent of the state’s voters said that they would vote for McConaughey if he were to challenge Gov. Greg Abbott next year, according to the poll, conducted by The Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas, Tyler.

An additional 33% of voters said they would support the incumbent, while 22% said that at this early stage, they would prefer to choose someone else.

But such highly theoretical questions can sometimes produce wonky results, especially this far in advance of any actual campaigning. That is doubly true when the hypothetical involves a figure with name recognition as high as McConaughey’s, particularly in his home state.

The actor has repeatedly flirted with running for governor, although he has not said whether he would run as a Republican or a Democrat. Last month he said he was seriously considering a bid.

“I’m looking into now again, what is my leadership role?” he said on a podcast. “Because I do think I have some things to teach and share, and what is my role? What’s my category in my next chapter of life that I’m going into?”


His fortunes in the new poll were particularly good among independents, 44% of whom said they would support him and only 18% of whom said they would back the governor, a Republican.

Yet Abbott’s job approval rating was healthy, with 50% of voters giving him positive marks and 36% negative. Fifty-four percent said he had responded well to the state’s power failure crisis, driven by strong support from Republicans; independents tilted away from him here, with 50% saying he had handled it badly and 43% saying he responded well, the poll found.

The survey was conducted from April 6-13 among 1,126 registered Texas voters, using a mixed-mode approach that included live phone interviews as well as online polling through the Dynata database.