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New poll shows Matthew McConaughey draws more support in Texas than Governor Greg Abbott

It looks like Matthew McConaughey could be closer to becoming a politician than a lot of us may have thought.

According to a new poll conducted by the University of Texas at Tyler--which was released by The Dallas Morning News on Sunday--the Interstellar actor commands more support to be Texas’ next governor than the state’s current governor, Greg Abbott. Still, McConaughey could hit some potholes in either major party’s primary if he enters next year’s governor’s race.

Over the course of the past few months, the actor has teased fans with the idea that he might enter the political realm in his home state. Now, it looks like that idea could become a reality, with voters in the state being open to his foray into politics.

If he were to actually run for governor, the poll found that 45% of Texas registered voters would vote for McConaughey, 33% would vote for Abbott and 22% would vote for someone else.

Obviously, McConaughey’s double-digit lead over the two-term Republican incumbent is significant, with the poll surveying 1,126 registered voters. Still, his campaign wouldn’t be a walk in the park, with 56% of Republican voters saying they’d vote for Abbott, compared with only 30% for McConaughey.

While 66% of Democrats said they would vote for the star over Abbott, and independents 44% to 28%, more than twice as many Democratic primary voters — 51% — said they wanted a progressive candidate for governor than wanted a centrist.

Though he hasn’t said what party he would run under if he did take the plunge, the findings in this pole could pose a problem for McConaughey, who has criticized both major parties and suggested he is more of a moderate.

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 UT-Tyler political scientist Mark Owens. “Most of our survey respondents know his story, but many are waiting to see how he opens his next chapter.”

According to Mark Harp, a conservative independent voter from Midlothian, McConaughey’s appeal is similar to Donald Trump’s in that he’s a political outsider with a message that the system is corrupt, ineffective, and in need of reform.

“He’s popular, he’s colorful, and he’s not afraid to tell it like it is,” said Harp. “He has some of the same qualities of Donald Trump, and that will play well in Texas.”