UPDATE, 4/21/20, 9:55am ET: Former President George W. Bush, who served as Texas governor from 1995 to 2000, issued a quick warning to Matthew McConaughey after hearing he’s mulling a 2022 run for office. “I tell you this, it’s a tough business,” Bush simply said on the April 20 episode of Hoda & Jenna. ”
ORIGINAL: Is Matthew McConaughey really a viable candidate? A new poll conducted by The Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler shows that 45% of registered voters who participated would vote for McConaughey over current Governor Greg Abbott. By contrast, 33% of voters in the April 17 poll said they would back Abbott; just 22% of participants would vote for someone else. That’s if McConaughey were to run.
The Republican governor is up for reelection in 2022. The poll, conducted April 6 — April 13, comes after McConaughey, 51, said that running for governor was a “true consideration” on The Balanced Voice podcast. “I’m looking into now again, what is my leadership role?” the Serenity actor explained. “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?”
The interview came four months after the True Detective star first teased a run for office on The Hugh Hewitt Show. When asked if he’d run for Texas governor, McConaughey said, “I don’t know. I mean, that wouldn’t be up to me. It would be up to the people more than it would me. I would say this: Look, politics seems to be a broken business to me right now. And when politics redefines its purpose, I could be a hell of a lot more interested.”
McConaughey’s politics are unclear. State voting records show that he hasn’t voted in a Texas primary election since 2012. He has never made any campaign contributions, nor has he ever publicly supported a candidate. He has publicly criticized far-left and far-right politicians, however. “You need liberals. What I don’t think we need is the ‘illiberals,’ and what I don’t think that some liberals see is that they’re often being cannibalized by the illiberals,” he said on Good Morning Britain in December.
“Now, you know, there are extremes on both sides that I think are unfair — that I don’t think are the right place to be. The extreme left and the extreme right completely illegitimize [sic] the other side,” McConaughey added. “Or, they exaggerate that side’s stance into an irrational state that makes no sense.” During the Trump administration, McConaughey called for unity between the parties.
“Well, they don’t have a choice now. He’s our president. And it’s very dynamic and as divisive of an inauguration and time as we’ve ever had,” McConaughey said in 2017 on BBC’s Andrew Marr Show. “At the same time, it’s time for us to embrace and shake hands with this fact and be constructive with him over the next four years.”
Despite his mysterious politics, the new poll showed McConaughey doing better with Democrats and Independents over Republicans. He still faces an uphill battle. As of March 2021, Abbott, who would be running for his third term, has a 52% job approval rating in the historically red state, according to Morning Consult. It went down slightly after he fully lifted COVID-19 restrictions in the state, but appears to be unaffected by the brutal winter storm in February that left over four million Texans without electricity and heat. At least 80 people died.