Speed Reads

texas poll watch

McConaughey leads Abbott in Texas poll as O'Rourke inches closer

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) may be feeling the pressure, the latest poll from The Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler shows.

Abbott's approval rating has dropped to 45 percent in the aftermath of controversial legislation such as a ban on mask mandates amid the COVID-19 pandemic and a ban on most abortions after six weeks. It's far too early to tell how things will play out in next year's election, but two well-known potential candidates look like they could give Abbott a serious run if they do wind up entering the race.

Actor Matthew McConaughey, who has hinted that he's entertaining the idea (though it's unclear what party, if any, he would represent), led Abbott by 9 percentage points in a hypothetical matchup in the new poll, while former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas), who ran against Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and later took a shot at the Democratic presidential nomination, cut a previous 12-point head-to-head deficit against Abbott down to 5 in the survey. Abbott does have a more comfortable lead against Republican primary challengers, however.

The Dallas Morning News/UT-Tyler poll was conducted Sept. 7-14 among 1,148 registered voters. The margin of error is 2.9 percentage points. Read more at The Dallas Morning News.