Personality Traits and the Dimensions of Political Ideology
34 Pages Posted: 2 Jun 2009
Date Written: March 31, 2009
We use three large N nationally representative surveys to investigate the relationships between the Five Factor Model personality traits and political ideology. Prior examinations of the relationships between personality traits and political ideology have yielded mixed results. Numerous studies have shown that ideology is associated with the personality traits Openness and Conscientiousness, but the relationships between the other three personality traits (Agreeableness, Extraversion, and Emotional Stability) and ideology are weak and inconsistent across samples. We find that the failure to link these traits to political ideology is an artifact of the coarse measurement of political ideology used in prior work. Once ideology is decomposed into social and economic dimensions there is a strong association between economic attitudes and Agreeableness and Emotional Stability. Our finding that four of the five personality domains are strongly linked to political ideology implies that the role of personality in political attitudes may be substantially stronger and more general than suggested by previous research.
Keywords: personality, Big Five, ideology, social conservatism, economic conservatism
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