Texas. The Lone Star State. The notoriously un-mess-with-able frontier whose reputation looms large in the imagination of the nation, and even larger in the imagination Texans themselves. It's a state, and state of mind, characterized by an iconically lethargic drawl — and perhaps no one on Earth is as associated with that uniquely Texan affectation than actor, spokesman, and nude bongo enthusiast Matthew McConaughey.
In fact, McConaughey, and his listless "awright awright awright" is so inextricably linked to his beloved home state, that it's becoming more and more plausible that he might end up running Texas from the governor's mansion — a once unthinkable possibility made increasingly comprehensible in no small part thanks to former President Donald Trump's obliteration of the notion that politicians need have any previous experience to be elected to office. And while McConaughey has only hinted at tossing his (presumably large, wide-brimmed Stetson) hat in the ring for current Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's (R) spot, a newly released poll this week shows him in an astonishingly strong position to do just that.
A whopping 45% of registered Texas voters told surveyors from The Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler that they would "be likely to support [McConaughey] more than Gov. Abbott" — an incredibly solid showing to begin with, but one rendered even more impressive given that only 33% of respondents said they'd vote for Abbott over McConaughey's theoretical candidacy.
The poll, taken among 1,126 registered voters between April 6 and April 13, shows particularly strong support for McConaughey among Democrats, 66% of whom said they would back the actor — who, in addition to not actually declaring whether or not he'll run for governor, hasn't actually said if he's a Democrat or Republican to begin with. Still, with overwhelming Democratic backing, coupled with 44% of independents and an impressive 30% of Republicans, McConaughey apparently presents a serious threat to Abbott.
McConaughey has previously described himself as "in the middle" politically, and last month mused that "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?"
What that means, and how that would translate into actually serving as the chief executive of a state of more than 25 million people remains to be seen — as does the question of whether or not McConaughey's impressive polling numbers reflect real support or simple name recognition.
Still: Reagan, Ventura, Schwarzenegger, Trump ... and now McConaughey? The possibility of yet another celebrity-turned-politician is becoming incredibly, alarmingly, real.