Personality traits, political attitudes and political behavior


Zandonella, Martina / Zeglovits, Eva (2010): The interrelation of personality traits, political attitudes and political behavior: empirical findings. ECPR Joint Sessions of Workshops in Muenster, March 22 to March 27, 2010.

Personality counts for individual differences and allows quite consistent behavior over situation and context, while at the same time this behavior is not independent of the actual social setting. Especially in the political context, the extent to what political structures and actions are shaped and channeled by people’s personalities has so far been a neglected question.

This paper wants to contribute to this striking issue by empirically analyzing the effects of personality on political behavior, namely turnout and right-wing voting. Our findings are based on a survey among Viennese voters, conducted during the run-up to the upcoming regional elections. The results show that personality actually contributes to explain prospective turnout, mainly through indirect effects via political self-efficacy. Our findings concerning the explanation of right-wing voting are quite convincing and match previous research on ideology and prejudice. Thus right-wing voting can be explained through personality, ideological beliefs and outgroup attitudes.