From Dallas Morning News reporters Robert T. Garrett and Gromer Jeffers Jr.: Bolstered by favoring polls, Matthew McConaughey, who’s described himself as a mellow centrist, is apparently half-interested in replacing Greg Abbott as Texas’ next governor.
Excerpt: “If MM were to take the plunge and run for governor, the poll found, 45% of Texas registered voters would vote for McConaughey, 33% would vote for Abbott and 22% would vote for someone else.
“McConaughey’s double-digit lead over the two-term Republican incumbent is significant. The poll, conducted April 6-13, surveyed 1,126 registered voters and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2.92 percentage points.
“56% of Republican voters said they’d vote for Abbott, compared with only 30% for McConaughey.
“While Democrats broke 66% to 8% for McConaughey, and independents 44% to 28%, more than twice as many Democratic primary voters — 51% — said they wanted a progressive candidate for governor than wanted a centrist — 25%.
“That could pose a problem. McConaughey, who has criticized both major parties, has suggested he’s more of a moderate.
“Some of the Trump supporters warm to celebrities, and that sentiment, along with the wishes of one-fifth of the primary electorate for a more moderate nominee, might open a lane in the GOP primary for McConaughey, said UT-Tyler political scientist Mark Owens, who directed the poll.
“McConaughey gets a huge boost from tremendous name recognition and recognition for what he does to help Texans and add to the celebration of the state’s successes,” Owens said. “Most of our survey respondents know his story, but many are waiting to see how he opens his next chapter.”
“Mark Harp, a conservative independent voter from Midlothian, said McConaughey’s appeal is similar to Trump’s: He’s a political outsider with a message that the system is corrupt, ineffective and in need of reforms.
“He’s popular, he’s colorful, and he’s not afraid to tell it like it is,” said Harp, 47, a construction manager. “He has some of the same qualities of Donald Trump, and that will play well in Texas.”