Abbott holds 6-point lead over O’Rourke in Texas poll

Associated Press/LM Otero

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) is leading former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) by 6 points in the Lone Star State’s gubernatorial race, according to a new poll, days after O’Rourke officially launched his bid for office in his home state.

The poll, conducted by the Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler, found that in a head-to-head match-up between the two candidates, 45 percent of registered voters said they support Abbott, while 39 percent said they are backing O’Rourke. 

Sixteen percent of respondents said they would vote for a different candidate for governor.

O’Rourke, who previously waged unsuccessful bids for U.S. Senate and president, announced last week that he is running to serve as governor of Texas, saying his bid was a rebuke of Abbott’s two terms as chief executive of the Lone Star State. He specifically pointed to the state government’s response to the winter storm earlier this year that killed hundreds of individuals and left millions without power.

Abbott responded to O’Rourke’s campaign announcement, telling the former congressman to “bring it.”

The incumbent also holds a lead in the new poll when actor Matthew McConaughey was added as a potential candidate. In a three-way race between McConaughey, Abbott and O’Rourke, the incumbent governor was supported by 37 percent of respondents, followed by McConaughey at 27 percent and O’Rourke with 26 percent.

McConaughey has not announced an intent to run for governor of Texas, but he has publicly flirted with a potential bid in recent months. The actor in September said he was “measuring” running for governor, and earlier this month he said he believes that government in Texas and the U.S. needs to be “aggressively centric” to defeat partisan splits.

In May, Politico reported that the actor was calling people influential in Texas politics to gauge interest in him launching a bid.

McConaughey, however, has emerged as a decisive leader in hypothetical head-to-head match-ups between both Abbott and O’Rourke. He leads Abbott in the new survey, 43 percent to 35 percent, and he is ahead of O’Rourke, 49 percent to 27 percent. 

However, 22 percent in McConaughey’s race against Abbott would prefer a different candidate, as did 19 percent in his contest against O’Rourke. 

Forty percent of respondents in the poll said they want to see McConaughey launch a bid for governor, while 33 percent said they do not. Twenty-seven percent said the actor’s decision does not matter to them.

The poll, conducted Nov. 9-16, surveyed 1,106 registered voters in Texas. The margin of error is 2.9 percentage points.

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