Psychology of politics: Do Republicans and Democrats favor different personality traits?


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — There are scientific studies that say Democrats and Republicans favor different personality traits and those preferences affect how we vote.

The abc27 Investigators created a non-scientific survey based on a 2018 study published in Social Psychology Quarterly, ‘Republicans Value Agency, Democrats Value Communion’. The study says social judgments can affect our world views, biases, and attitudes, and Republicans and Democrats tend to put greater value on different personality traits.

According to the study, Republicans favor qualities more related to reaching goals like being ambitious, hardworking, and determined. Democrats tend to favor traits that lead to social relationships like being broad-minded, warm, and sociable.

The abc27 Investigators made stops in Harrisburg, Carlisle, Lancaster and York and asked people to fill out a survey.

Participants were asked to write down their political party and circle the 3 traits that were most important to promote a better society. The traits listed were: broad-minded, determined, skillful, warm, intelligent, ambitious, competent, sociable, and hardworking.

59 surveys were completed by 15 Republicans, 18 Democrats, 7 Independents, 1 Green Party, 1 Liberal, and 17 people left the political party question blank or said they had no party affiliation.

The top three traits circled by Republicans were hardworking (53%), broad-minded (47%), and competent (40%).

Democrats had some ties: intelligent and ambitious came in at number one (50%), followed by hardworking and broad minded (44%) and then sociable (28% votes).

In the ‘other category’ the top three traits were broad-minded (58%), warm (42%), and Intelligent and hardworking (31%) were tied at 3rd.

Broad -minded and hardworking made it into the top three for all groups.

Overall the traits with the most votes were broad-minded, hardworking, and intelligent.

The abc27 Investigators’ survey did not line up with the scientific poll. For instance, broad-minded would be labeled a trait more important to Democrats but in the abc27 Investigtors survey broad-minded made the top three for each group.

The survey also asked participants to complete the sentence, “Society would be better if the average person were more…?”

Here are some of the responses:

“Willing to have an actual conversation with others. It isn’t wrong to have a different viewpoint to make you think and consider their side” – Republican (York)

“Able to see from various perspectives while maintaining their own integrity and view” – registered Republican (York)

“Empathetic and had pride in themselves and in society/country” – Libertarian/Republican (Carlisle)

“Easy going and calm”- American Party, I vote for person not Party (Lancaster)

“Proactive in things benefiting society as a whole”- Non-partisan (Harrisburg)

“Attuned to the fact they are destroying the planet”- Green Party (Lancaster)

“Religious”- Democrat (York)

“To care about their neighbor like they care for themselves. Love thy neighbor” – no party affiliation (Harrisburg)

“Bi-partisan”- Republican (Carlisle)

“Comfortable with themselves and willing to think independently”- no party affiliation (Harrisburg)

“Accepting of people’s cultures and weren’t so quick to get defensive when someone else’s opinions differed from there’s”- Democrat (Harrisburg)

“Exposed to different points of view”- registered Republican (Carlisle)

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