McConaughey Poll II: It’s all still ridiculous

Sorry, none of the canonical sequel subtitles fit here.

Gov. Greg Abbott, after trailing potential challenger Matthew McConaughey in the spring, has rebounded and now has a slight — but not statistically significant — lead over the movie star in a hypothetical matchup in next year’s race for governor, according to a poll released Sunday by The Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler.

Abbott, a two-term Republican, is favored by 39% of Texans of all political stripes, while McConaughey, who hasn’t picked a political party or even committed to running, draws backing from 38%. Nearly a quarter of Texans said they’d vote for someone else.

The poll, conducted June 22-29, surveyed 1,090 registered voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

It showed that since April, Abbott has improved his standing with all voters, though he’s still behind among independents. He is likely to handily dispatch fellow Republican and former state Sen. Don Huffines of Dallas in their tussle for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. Among Texans who say they’ll vote in the Republican primary, Abbott leads Huffines, 77% to 12%.

While no major Democrat has announced against Abbott, former El Paso congressman and presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke hasn’t ruled out another bid for statewide office.

If O’Rourke tosses his bandanna in the ring, he starts out behind: While about two-thirds of Democrats support O’Rourke, 78% of the more numerous Republicans back Abbott. And Abbott’s edging O’Rourke among independents (35%-28%), for an overall lead of 45%-33% in their general-election showdown.


Pollster Mark Owens, who teaches political science at UT-Tyler, noted that Abbott improved his standing with potential GOP primary voters, with 67% of them picking him over McConaughey in June, compared with just 59% in April.

Simultaneously, Abbott nearly doubled his admittedly small support among Democrats, to 15% in the latest poll. Among independents, McConaughey continued to lead Abbott, though by 39%-29%, compared with 44%-28% in April.

“Signing new laws and optimism of new jobs across the state has given a renewed context for Governor Abbott to regain support from conservative voters who were disaffected by pandemic restrictions,” Owens said.

See here for the poll data, and here for my discussion of the previous poll, for which all of my objections still apply. The one unsurprising thing about this poll is that it shows a reduction in support for McConaughey among Republican voters along with a corresponding rise in support for Greg Abbott among Republicans. This is not a surprise since (spoiler alert) Greg Abbott is the Republican candidate in the race, and Matthew McConaughey is not, and could not be in a November scenario against Abbott. It’s not noted in the story, but McConaughey’s support among Democrats also fell, from 66-8 in the April poll to 56-15 in this poll. That too is a reflection of the fact that at least at this time, McConaughey is not the Democratic candidate against Abbott, either. He still could be, if he wanted to and was willing to work for it, but until such time this is all just make believe.

As for the Beto/Abbott matchup, first let me say thank you for including the question, and second that in this poll Beto wins Democratic voters by a 66-17 margin. I feel confident saying that if this is the November 2022 race, Beto will get more than 66% of Democratic voters, and Greg Abbott will get less than 17%. Abbott will also get more than 78% of Republican voters – he wins them 78-9 in this poll – and Beto will get less than nine percent, though not that much less since there’s less room for it to shrink and there are always some crossovers. Point being, again, all this is a made up exercise in meaningless numbers.

The somewhat interesting result in this poll is the Don Huffines-versus-Greg Abbott question, which is bizarrely asked of all poll respondents and not just Republican primary voters. That’s how you get a result of 39% of Democrats saying they would vote for Don Huffines, instead of 100% of Democrats saying they would fling themselves off a cliff, given an election choice of Huffines and Abbott. For the “Republican primary voters” subsample, Abbott wins 77-12, with 11% saying they would vote for someone else. This was all done before Allen West decided to inflict himself on us, and so it serves as a data point to see what if any effect West’s entry into the race has on Abbott’s base level of support among Republicans. Does West pick up whatever support he gets from the 23% who already said they weren’t voting for Abbott, or does he peel away some of Abbott’s support? My guess is it’s more the former than the latter, but we’ll see.

The poll also has some approval/disapproval numbers, some issues polling, and an AG primary question. I’ll get to that in the next post.

Related Posts:

This entry was posted in Election 2022 and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to McConaughey Poll II: It’s all still ridiculous

  1. Thomas says:

    So, yeah: this poll is beyond useless if it doesn’t tell you which party McConaughey belongs to. Most Dems will vote for him if he’s the Dem candidate; if he’s an independent, presumably Democrats will also be running a candidate so most Dems won’t vote for him.

  2. Kibitzer says:


    He needs to overcome the puberty phase himself, man up gender-conformingly, and strike a proper posture as a would-be politician. A politco of a new and better mold. Conservatively progressive.

    Ridiculous or not, let’s not kid ourselves, folks. Mr. McC has good name recognition, and his audience has presumably included Democrats as well as Republicans all along, so he is not restricted by affiliation in the way conventional political candidates are even in nominally non-partisan races at the local level.

    Nor does he have to cater to party elites, or appease constituent sub-parties within the two existing parties; party-coalition components that want to exert their muscle and push special-interest agendas — not to mention extremist positions — at the expense of broad appeal to a much less fervent electorate.

    Sure, some do not take Mr. Mc C seriously for lack of a political track record, and they have a point. So much acknowledged.

    But you don’t have to be an expert on any policy problem or issue as long as you surround yourself with competent people and make good use of what they have to offer. And there is plenty of idle talent parked in Texas universities. Idle because public policymaking in Texas is not rational. It is instead driven by industry interests and lobbying on the input side, and ruthless exercise of political power for selfish ends at the decison-point/output side, as opposed to consideration of the smartest ways to accomplish defined policy objectives within a larger commitment to serve the public interest. The academics and experts are often relegated to be by-standards, lucky to be solited for quotable snippets by the media, and that’s it.  

    Being a newcomer to politics has advantages. In terms of ideological and policy positions in the current political landscape,  a neophyte is not limited to one or the other of two established packages, but can put together his own mix of positions, and espouse more moderate and less conventional ones: like being for more sex education and contraception, for example, as distinguished from being for or against the banning of abortions. And for gun education and safety, given that we are now about to enter into a free-for-all “constitutional carry” regime, along with better ambulance service and organ transplant infrastructure to have some good come from the unabated shooting tragedies. Not to mention the freedom to sound different themes in the symbolic realm, rather than harping to the standard party-line gospel.

    Allen West wants to march to the sound of guns. Mc Center could march to the tune of music and forswear the use of war rhetoric and demonization of political opponents as domestic enemies to be wiped out. And he could do that without taking your guns away. He could instead model some safe target-shooting himself. Perhaps writing IGNORANCE on the target and aim for the O.  


    The logical thing for Mr. Mc C  to do would be  to either run as an independent, or become the ticket-heading candidate of the new “there is a third-way” party.

    According to candidate Allen “Warpath” West, the only thing in the middle of the road is roadkill. Not necessarily so. How about an HOV lane straight to the Governor’s mansion? Or cruising to victory in a self-driving e-powered omnibus with a policy expert in every on-the-road-office seat on the upper deck? Get creative and choose your metaphors wisely. The possibilities are unlimited.

    Since he has ready ready access to the media, especially the show biz media, Mc C can save a lot of money in campaigning by not having to work on name recognition as a threshold barrier to notoriety. And his unconventional speaking style would make him more newsworthy, rather than less. Campaigning is show biz too.  And he is already a pro in that industry. Let Abbott roll along his wall. Be off-the wall to distinguish yourself with out-of-the-bubble thinking and ideas that will make Texas and Texans better!

    As for a concrete policy agenda and party program, Candidate McCenter could remain open to compromise, rather than nailing himself down on a liberal or conservative position as currently practiced, and could put together policy exploration teams to look into a full range of options instead of engaging in the usual position taking and grandstanding. He could have town hall or whistle-stop events with presentations of contending policy views rather than rallies to tell supporters what they want to hear and chant to. Being flexible one open to competing viewpoints would also allow him to avoid attack as an idiological adversary, making him more electable rather than less.  

    There are typically more policy options than just being against what the other side is for. Or just a pro and a con position, on any particular problem or challenge.

    Abbott,  to use an appalling example, wants to be seen as doing something about the grid because even Republican voters were pissed when the power went and stayed out. But now he wants renewables crushed instead of addressing the intermittency problem by looking into and promoting energy storage technologies. That’s where the innovation is happening. That’s where progress is being made. So Abbott has to be against it. Because he want’s Texas to be exceptional again, apparently.

    Can you think of a dumber way to  make policy than reflectively being against what the other guy is for?


    A smart third-party candidate would realize that the reliable supply of electricity is something everyone cares about and has a stake in. The smart candidate could assemble a group of experts, rather than industry lobbyists, to look into solutions to known and widely experienced problems.

    Solutions such as, to name a few examples, hooking up with the rest of the country to mitigate risk; addition of turbines to make power from wind off-shore, which has different intermittency patterns compared to on-shore wind; solar farms with adjacent battery packs to even out short term demand-supply imbalances, a strategic natural gas reserve to be tapped in the event of short-term supply crunches or excessive price hikes, energy efficiency/better insulation in homes, and ability of consumers to save or make money by reducing usage during peak times (dynamic response on the retail end), and so on, and on.  

    Forget the Alamo unless you are on vacation in San Antonio, in which case you might want to add it to your sightseeing program. Though it must be said that the River Center nearby is a much more spacious and comfortable venue to hang out and walk around in, not to mention shop and dine, while the summer heat is on. At least as long as the air conditioning doesn’t black out. 

    The Alamo may be cool for some, alright, alright. It’s not going to keep us cool in the sweltering heat, though. Or warm in the winter. And unlike books and furniture, you can’t even burn it to keep the fireplace going during a winter storm. 

    Would you rather vote for an Alamoist fond of the thunder of artillery, or a guy that has a workable plan to keep the lights on, and the ambient air nice and comfortable?

  3. Jason Hochman says:

    The fact is that Abbott is not great, but he needs to be re-elected, otherwise, we could end up with some maniac who is an autocrat and wants to shut down the state and force everyone to wear a mask forever, because they now have the Epsilon Variant. WE can’t give the power to authoritarian lunatics.

  4. Pingback: Other questions from McConaughey Poll II – Off the Kuff

Comments are closed.