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Keywords:

  • Personality profiles;
  • political parties;
  • Five-Factor model;
  • voters

This paper explores relationships between basic personality profiles of voters and their political party preferences. The Italian political system has moved recently from previously extreme, ideologically distinctive parties to form complex coalitions varying around more centrist orientations. Significant evidence was found for the utility of the Five-Factor Model of Personality in distinguishing between voters' expressed preferences, even given this greater subtlety in proposed values and agendas. More than 2,000 Italian voters who self-identified as having voted for new center-left or center-right political coalitions differed systematically in predicted directions on several personality dimensions measured by the Big Five Questionnaire. In the context of the model, center-right voters displayed more Energy and slightly more Conscientiousness than center-left voters, whose dominant personality characteristics were Agreeableness (Friendliness) and Openness; Emotional Stability was unrelated to either group. This relationship between individual differences in personality and political preferences was not influenced by the demographic variables of voters' gender, age, or education. Thus, personality dimensions proved to be stronger predictors of political preference than any of these standard predictor variables. Implications are discussed regarding links among personality, persuasion, power, and politics.