Personality and Political Behavior
52 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2009
Date Written: February 11, 2009
Using data from two recent surveys, we analyze the relationship between personality traits, as measured by the Five-factor Model, and political participation, political ideology, partisanship, and vote choice. We confirm previous findings, including the strong positive association between the personality trait of Openness and liberalism and between Conscientiousness and conservatism, and also report several new results. We merged administrative records containing actual turnout and party registration status with our survey data. Using this novel approach, we confirm that the strong relationship between personality and politics holds when actual behavior is substituted for survey reports. We also measure the association of personality and several forms of political participation, including voting, contributing, and volunteering. The effect of personality on participation is often comparable to, or larger in magnitude than, the effect of factors that are central in earlier models of turnout, such as religious attendance, age, education, and income.
Keywords: personality, Big Five, political behavior, partisanship, voting
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