Current Events and the Psychology of Politics

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In an op-ed published in the Washington Post (Jan. 1, 2019) Mitt Romney, newly elected Republican senator from Utah, wrote: “[O]n balance, [Donald Trump’s] conduct over the past two years … is evidence that the president has not risen to the mantle of the office,” adding, “A president should demonstrate the essential qualities of honesty and integrity, and elevate the national discourse with comity and mutual respect.”

Although one can only speculate on Romney’s rationale for this highly unusual maneuver — assailing the character of the president, no less the leader of his own party — the senator-elect’s personality profile offers a partial glimpse into his underlying motives.

Specifically, Romney’s primary personality pattern — conscientiousness — is characterized by deep-seated resonance to the personal qualities of honesty, integrity, and respect — suggesting it is no accident that Romney zeroed in on those particular traits as lacking in the president (and, by implication, holding himself up as exemplifying those qualities).

Romney poster (2013)
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More » The Political Personality of 2012 Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney. Paper presented at the 35th Annual Scientific Meeting of the International Society of Political Psychology, Chicago, July 6–9, 2012. Abstract and link for full-text (35 pages; PDF) download at Digital Commons:


Related reports on this site

Mitt Romney Announces Bid for U.S. Senate in Utah (Feb. 17, 2018)

Mitt Romney for Secretary of State? (Nov. 19, 2016)

Mitt Romney’s Personality Profile (June 2, 2011)

As shown in the pie chart, Romney has a primarily Conscientious-dutiful personality, complemented by secondary Dominant-asserting, Ambitious-confident, and Accommodating-cooperative features and a minor Retiring-reserved tendency.

Mitt Romney’s Leadership Style (Sept. 3, 2012)

Research assistants Amanda Nusbaum and Feiran Chen presented their research on “The Personality Profile of 2012 Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney” at the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, Minn., July 30, 2012.

Why Mitt Romney Won’t Be President — In Theory (Oct. 29, 2012)

Aubrey Immelman and Andrew Obritsch in Chicago at the annual scientific meeting of the International Society of Political Psychology to present their research on Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, July 2012.

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