Actor Matthew McConaughey holds a commanding lead in an early poll of the 2022 Texas gubernatorial race, even beating out incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott (R) by a double-digit margin.

“Matthew 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,” said Mark Owens, political scientist who oversaw the poll. “Most of our survey respondents know his story, but many are waiting to see how he opens his next chapter.”

McConaughey leads over Abbott in a poll of 1,126 general voters 45% to 33%, but McConaughey still has not formally announced that he will run in 2022. Breaking the poll own by party affiliation, however, shows a more divided field. When asked if they would vote for McConaughey, Abbott or someone else, only 30% of those who said they would vote for McConaughey were Republicans. 56% of Republicans said they would vote for Abbott, according to the The Dallas Morning News & UT-Tyler poll.

McConaughey has offered no hint about his party allegiance, and likely would face tough competition if he chooses to enter the race as a Republican. Abbott maintains firm support from Evangelical, retirement-aged and  conservative voters. He would more likely run as a Democrat or Independent in the race.

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