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The personality of the presidency candidates
 

The personality of the presidency candidates

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Not only was 2011 a tumultuous year in the parliamentary politics of the Republic of Ireland, but it also witnessed the first presidential election in over a decade. Due to the largely titular nature ...

Not only was 2011 a tumultuous year in the parliamentary politics of the Republic of Ireland, but it also witnessed the first presidential election in over a decade. Due to the largely titular nature of the role, it represented a valuable opportunity to examine voters’ impressions of the personality of the candidates, and how those impressions translated into votes. Previous research has demonstrated solid theoretical basis for this examination: observers frequently interpret an actor’s behaviour in terms of personality (the ‘fundamental attribution error’, Jones and Harris, 1967); nonverbal images of candidates influence voter decision making (Todorov, Mandisodza, Goren, & Hall, 2005); and inferred personality traits can be predictive of electoral success (Immellman, 2005). The opinions of the Irish electorate were sought over the course of the 2011 Presidential campaign. 391 subjects (215 male, 174 female; mean age 39.92, range 18-76 years) who declared being eligible to vote took part in an online survey. Participants completed the Ten-Item Personality Inventory (TIPI; Gosling, Rentfrow, and Swann, 2003) for their impressions of each candidate, as well as questions regarding their voting intentions which were then compared with the result of the election. Analysis indicates weak to moderate but significant positive correlations between each of the five personality traits and first preference votes, but also patterns of divergence across candidate affiliation. These results suggest that voting behaviour is not only influenced by holistic impressions of the candidates’ personality traits, but that these are moderated by candidate affiliation, presenting a dilemma for potential political leaders.

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    The personality of the presidency candidates The personality of the presidency candidates Presentation Transcript

    • POLITICS AND PERSONALITYA closer look at the 2011 candidates for the Presidency Ciarán Mc Mahon, Ph.D. Dept. of Psychology
    • WHAT SORT OF PERSONALITY DO WE LOOK FOR IN A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE?
    • Introduction• Previous research has demonstrated solid theoretical basis for this examination: – observers frequently interpret an actor’s behaviour in terms of personality (the ‘fundamental attribution error’, Jones and Harris, 1967); – nonverbal images of candidates influence voter decision making (Todorov, Mandisodza, Goren, & Hall, 2005); – and inferred personality traits can be predictive of electoral success (Immellman, 2005) – all five major traits associated with ‘transformational leadership (Bono & Judge, 2004)
    • Extraversion Openness Agreeablenessto experience Emotional stability Conscientiousness
    • Leadership
    • Leadership
    • Leadership...
    • Introduction• Hypotheses – 1 (a/b/c/d/e) that there will be significant correlation between each of the five major personality traits and first preference votes received – 2 (a/b/c/d/e/f/g/h) that a candidate’s supporters will differ from the rest of the population in how they perceive their personality traits
    • Method• 391 survey participants – 215 male, 174 female – age range 18-76 years, mean 39.92, st. dev. 13.02• Asked of impressions of the personality of the candidates – Ten-Item Personality Inventory-(TIPI) • Gosling, Rentfrow, & Swann (2003) • 2 items each for 5 major personality traits
    • TIPI example
    • Results• Hypothesis 1 a/b/c/d/e all supported – weak-to-moderate positive correlations observed between each trait with first preference votes received » Extraversion (r = .095, N = 2737, p < .001, one-tailed) » Agreeableness (r = .169, N = 2737, p < .001, one-tailed) » Conscientiousness (r = .220, N = 2737, p < .001, one-tailed) » Emotional Stability (r = .299, N = 2737, p < .001, one-tailed) » Openness to Experiences (r = .199, N = 2737, p < .001, one-tailed)
    • Davis ExtraversionOpenness to AgreeablenessExperiences Total Emotional Stability Conscientiousness
    • Gallagher ExtraversionOpenness to AgreeablenessExperiences Total Emotional Stability Conscientiousness
    • Higgins ExtraversionOpenness to AgreeablenessExperiences Total Emotional Stability Conscientiousness
    • McGuinness ExtraversionOpenness to AgreeablenessExperiences Total Emotional Stability Conscientiousness
    • Mitchell ExtraversionOpenness to AgreeablenessExperiences Total Emotional Stability Conscientiousness
    • Norris ExtraversionOpenness to AgreeablenessExperiences Total Emotional Stability Conscientiousness
    • Scallon ExtraversionOpenness to AgreeablenessExperiences Total Emotional Stability Conscientiousness
    • Results• Hypothesis 2 supported, generally... – multivariate analysis of variance revealed significant effect of 1st choice preference (support) on impressions of all traits for all candidates F(210, 2082.408) = 5.550, p < 0.001, Wilks’ Lamda = .072, partial eta squared = .355. – NB – equality of covariance assumption not met, and some equality of error variance assumptions not met either, but observed power (alpha = .05) was high (1.0). • with the exception of extraversion for Davis, McGuinness, Mitchell and Scallon, where no significant differences were observed – pairwise comparisions reveal many expected patterns • e.g those who gave Davis their first preference rated her as significantly more agreeable than did those who gave any of the other candidates their first preferences – however, some other, unexpected patterns were revealed also
    • Davis ExtraversionOpenness to AgreeablenessExperiences Supporters Others Emotional Stability Conscientiousness
    • Gallagher ExtraversionOpenness to AgreeablenessExperiences Supporters Others Emotional Stability Conscientiousness
    • Higgins ExtraversionOpenness to AgreeablenessExperiences Supporters Others Emotional Stability Conscientiousness
    • McGuinness ExtraversionOpenness to AgreeablenessExperiences Supporters Others Emotional Stability Conscientiousness
    • Mitchell ExtraversionOpenness to AgreeablenessExperiences Supporters Others Emotional Stability Conscientiousness
    • Norris ExtraversionOpenness to AgreeablenessExperiences Supporters Others Emotional Stability Conscientiousness
    • Scallon ExtraversionOpenness to AgreeablenessExperiences Supporters Others Emotional Stability Conscientiousness
    • Voting behaviour
    • Voting behaviour Will vote for the candidate
    • Voting behaviour Will vote for the candidate Like the candidate
    • Voting behaviour Will vote for the candidate Like the candidateWon’t vote forthe candidate
    • Voting behaviour Will vote for the candidate Likes the candidateWon’t vote forthe candidate Don’t like the candidate
    • Voting behaviour Will vote for the candidateLiking the candidate Likes the candidate Won’t vote for the candidate Don’t like the candidate Voting for the candidate
    • Voting behaviour Will vote for the candidateLiking the candidate Likes the candidate Won’t vote for Will vote for the the candidate candidate Don’t like the Don’t like the candidate candidate Voting for the candidate
    • Voting behaviour Won’t vote for Will vote for the the candidate candidateLiking the candidate Like the Likes the candidate candidate Won’t vote for Will vote for the the candidate candidate Doesn’t like the Likes the candidate candidate Voting for the candidate
    • Voting behaviour Won’t vote for Will vote for the the candidate candidateLiking the candidate Like the Like the candidate candidate Won’t vote for Will vote for the the candidate candidate Don’t like the Don’t like the candidate candidate Voting for the candidate
    • Voting behaviour Won’t vote for Will vote for the the candidate candidateLiking the candidate Like the Like the candidate candidate Won’t vote for Will vote for the the candidate candidate Don’t like the Don’t like the candidate candidate Voting for the candidate
    • Voting behaviour Won’t vote for Will vote for the the candidate candidateLiking the candidate Like the Like the candidate candidate Won’t vote for Will vote for the the candidate candidate Don’t like the Don’t like the candidate candidate Voting for the candidate
    • Voting behaviour Won’t vote for Will vote for the the candidate candidateLiking the candidate Likes the Likes the candidate candidate Won’t vote for Will vote for the the candidate candidate Doesn’t like the Likes the candidate candidate Voting for the candidate
    • In other words,• A party candidate can be assured that – some people will always vote for them – and some people will never vote for them• whereas• An independent candidate – should have neither that luxury nor obstacle – this is basic in-group/out-group bias
    • In other words,• Consequently, – if a party candidate can transcend their affiliation, they will do well – but if an independent candidate becomes so associated, then they will not• Ultimately, the effect of personality on leadership is fundamentally different both within and without political groupings...