Matthew McConaughey Outpolls Texas Republican Governor Abbott

The powerful allure of celebrity.

Image Credit: Youtube Screenshot

In our political lives every day we see proof of the H.L. Mencken adage that you won’t grow broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.

In my occasional role as a political optimist, I thought Texas would be different. And yes, I know not all polls are on the up and up. But I checked on this one and it seems legitimate. Which is sad for Texas. I thought it was still America there. In this sense, it is.

FNC: “McConaughey, the 51-year-old Oscar winner, a Texas native, has been teasing a potential run against Abbott in 2022 for weeks. He recently told the host of ‘The Hugh Hewitt Show’ that ‘it would be up to the people more than it would me’ whether or not he pivots his career into politics.’ Now, in a new poll conducted by The Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler, McConaughey has a commanding lead over Abbott, with 45% of those polled saying they would cast their vote for him versus 33% who would stick with Abbott. Twenty-two percent said they would vote for someone else.

“The poll was conducted April 6-13 among 1,126 registered voters; the margin of error is 2.92%. Despite the smaller data set, the numbers speak highly for the actor’s chances. He is beating the two-term Republican by double digits, despite having done nothing but tease a possible run.”

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“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,” UT-Tyler political scientist Mark Owens told The Dallas Morning News. “Most of our survey respondents know his story, but many are waiting to see how he opens his next chapter.” The actor is a Democrat. It sounds like he’s running. One step from that seat to the White House. Can you say President McConaughey? Dear bloody gawd.

Matthew McConaughey may be a decent person. But his acting abilities, which are formidable, do not make him qualified to be governor. You could say, look at Reagan’s run as governor. True, but Reagan had been out of acting for some time when he ran for governor of California in 1966. Did his celebrity help him? Undoubtedly. But he was also qualified because of the years he had spent giving lectures, speeches, and being directly politically involved.

Schwarzenegger? Unqualified. But, like Reagan, it was California. Go figure. This recall election in California, Caitlin Jenner? Unqualified. But it may have a shot. Such is the power of celebrity. However, it’s essentially absurd. Would you hire a surgeon because she had once been in a sitcom? Would you use a mechanic only because he had been in a rock band? If you would, seek help.

Lee Atwater once said that for politicians, it’s better if they like you than if they agree with you. Well, sad people all over the world including Texas think that they have some personal deep connection with a celebrity they likely will never meet and who has no idea who they are. But those people get to vote. Democracy. Meh.

David Kamioner
meet the author

David Kamioner is a veteran of U.S. Army Intelligence and an honors graduate of the University of Maryland's European Division. He also served with the Pershing Nuclear Brigade and the First Infantry Division. Subsequent to that he worked for two decades as a political consultant, was part of the American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina disaster relief effort in Louisiana, ran a homeless shelter for veterans in Philadelphia, and taught as a college instructor. He serves as a Contributing Editor for LifeZette.

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