On Saturday I saw a headline about Gov. Greg Abbott’s declining approval rate and immediately thought, “Does Beto know about this?” Then, almost immediately, I saw a story on Axios saying that O’Rourke is set to announce his candidacy “sometime later this year”.

Here are a few quick facts:

Greg Abbott’s approval has fallen to 41% in one poll with a 50% disapproval rating in a separate poll done by the University of Texas.

That 41% approval is down from a high of 56% in April of 2020, just as widespread Covid shutdowns were ramping up.

A new Dallas Morning News poll has a hypothetical O’Rourke candidacy gaining on Abbott. When the scenario was played out in July, projections showed O’Rourke losing to Abbott by a 45% to 33% margin. The latest poll shows the gap has narrowed to 42% to 37%, still in Abbott’s favor.

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Reasons for Abbott’s slide in approval: his anti-mask mandates, Texas adopting the most restrictive anti-abortion law since Roe vs. Wade and Republican efforts to restrict voting accessibility. While these policies have played well to the base, they’ve likely cost Abbott some support among Independents and unaffiliated voters.

Beto has spent his time doing candidate-like things. Most recently, this summer Beto toured the state of Texas drumming up support for voting rights and against perceived Republican restrictions. He’s also been involved with his own political action committee, Powered by the People. These are in line with the things a person with further political aspirations would do.

There’s still the “McConaughey Factor”. That Dallas Morning News poll has the actor AHEAD of Greg Abbott. Matteo is up on Abbott 44% to 35%. If both Beto and McConaughey decided to run, this would be a new first for O’Rourke. It would be the first time HE’S the uggo candidate in an election (sorry, Ted).

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