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Social and Psychological Bases of Ideology and System Justification$
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John T. Jost, Aaron C. Kay, and Hulda Thorisdottir

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195320916

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195320916.001.0001

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Statewide Differences in Personality Predict Voting Patterns in 1996–2004 U.S. Presidential Elections

Statewide Differences in Personality Predict Voting Patterns in 1996–2004 U.S. Presidential Elections

Chapter:
(p.314) CHAPTER 13 Statewide Differences in Personality Predict Voting Patterns in 1996–2004 U.S. Presidential Elections
Source:
Social and Psychological Bases of Ideology and System Justification
Author(s):

Peter J. Rentfrow

John T. Jost

Samuel D. Gosling

Jeffrey Potter

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195320916.003.013

Political regionalism is commonly attributed to differences in historical settlement patterns, social class, and racial diversity. This book provides evidence for the importance of another factor—state-level personality—in understanding regional differences in political ideology. Drawing on research in personality and social psychology, the chapter proposes that geographical differences in voting patterns partially reflect differences in the psychological characteristics of individuals living in different states. Specifically examined are associations between state-level personality scores and voting patterns in the 1996, 2000, and 2004 U.S. Presidential elections. Results show that mean levels of openness and conscientiousness within a state predict the percentage of votes for Democratic and Republican candidates. Furthermore, state-level personality scores account for unique variance in voting patterns, even after adjusting for standard socio-demographic and political predictors. This chapter demonstrates the value of investigating psychological variables at a regional level to better understand political culture and ideology.

Keywords:   elections, personality, political regionalism, regionalism, voting patterns

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