Personality traits, political attitudes and the propensity to vote


André Blais, Département de science politique, Université de Montréal, CP 6128, succursale Centre-ville, Montréal QC H3C 3J7, Canada. Tel.: 514 343-6111; E-mail:


This article examines the link between personality traits, political attitudes and the propensity to vote in elections, using an Internet panel survey conducted in two Canadian provinces at the time of the 2008 federal election and the subsequent provincial elections. It first establishes that the two most proximate attitudes that shape one's propensity to vote are political interest and sense of civic duty. The article then look at specific personality traits (altruism, shyness, efficacy and conflict avoidance) that could affect level of political interest, civic duty and the propensity to vote in elections. In the last part of the analysis, a model is proposed and tested, according to which the impact of personality traits is indirect, being mediated by interest and duty. The article shows that the data are consistent with such an interpretation.