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Does your personality determine how you vote?

2016 12 06 Does your personality determine how you vote

It turns out that your personality does have a big impact on voting behaviour.  A number of studies have shown that you can predict a person’s voting behaviour with a significant degree of accuracy if you know their personality makeup (Gerber et al, 2011).

One personality factor which seems to have an impact is that of Openness, one of the six factors of the HEXACO personality inventory (click here to see how to measure personality).  People who are high on openness tend to like new ideas, to be more welcoming of change and to be naturally creative.

They also tend to vote that way.  They vote for more liberal, progressive causes and often vote against conservative, traditional political causes or parties that stand for them.  There is some evidence, for instance, that more people who were high in the personality characteristic of Openness voted “No” in the Brexit vote in the UK.  They were less worried about the risks of being exposed to the rest of the world in respect of trade and culture and seemed to be more concerned about the loss of opportunity that Brexit would bring.

Of course, personality is not the only determinant of voting, but may be a partial explanation of why some people tend to vote one way for most of their life.  If you are low enough in openness this disposes you to a naturally conservative view of politics and vice versa.

IQ is also a determinant of voting behaviour, but I will go into this highly controversial topic on another day.

Andrew Marty
Managing Director
SACS Consulting

 

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Gerber, A. S., Huber, G. A., Doherty, D., & Dowling, C. M. (2011). The Big Five personality traits in the political arena. Annual Review of Political Science, 14, 265–8

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