Matthew McConaughey leads Greg Abbott in poll for Texas governor, while Beto O’Rourke starts to close gap

Poll: 45% of people approve of Abbott’s performance

Matthew McConaughey, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Beto O'Rourke. Images: Getty, AP Photo/Eric Gay, AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall (Gp Images/Getty Images, KSAT)

SAN ANTONIO – The waning support for Gov. Greg Abbott could open the door for two Texans in the race for governor: Actor Matthew McConaughey and Democrat Beto O’Rourke, according to a recent poll.

About 45% of people surveyed approve of Abbott’s performance as governor of Texas, while 54% believe Texas is “headed off on the wrong track,” a new poll from The Dallas Morning News and University of Texas at Tyler states.

McConaughey, a hypothetical candidate who has only hinted at a run for governor, leads Abbott 44-35 in the poll.

In July, the Republican governor led 39-38.

O’Rourke, who has also not announced a campaign, closed the gap between himself and Abbott from 12 points to five, the survey says. About 37% of people surveyed said they would vote for O’Rourke.

About 18% say their impression of O’Rourke is very favorable, while 35% say it is very unfavorable.

The poll was conducted between Sept. 7-14 and surveyed 1,148 registered voters, according to The Dallas Morning News. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.

In the surveys conducted in the past, results show that the governor’s approval rating dropped since the onslaught of the pandemic.

His approval rating stood at 59% in March 2020, the newspaper reported.

Mark Owens, a political scientist at UT-Tyler, told the newspaper that Abbott’s stance on a variety of issues has gained him staunch support from conservatives.

It has also led to more opposition, Owens says, with Abbott’s hardline approach on abortions, masks, voting, guns, the border policy and critical race theory.

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Rebecca Salinas joined KSAT in the fall of 2019. Her skills include content management, engagement and reporting.