Electoral Choice: Qualitative Dimensions and the Role of Personality
The paper presents a study of mechanisms of choice in a real life situation of local authorities elections. We have hypothesized that the quality of choice process as reflected through subjective evaluations might differ depending on some personality variables and, in turn, predict the satisfaction with choice and other outcome variables. The dependent variable was the decision whether to go voting at all. This assumption has been proven in a study on non-psychology college students (N=174) tested three times: a week before regional elections, a week after, and several months later. We used the measures of quality of choice and a number of personality inventories (assessing subjective alienation, purpose in life, locus of control, hardiness, causality orientations and some other variables).
As predicted, the qualitative parameters of choice process have been associated with personality variables, and, in turn, predicted the evaluation of outcomes. Cluster analysis (Ward’s method) has split the sample into two distinctive groups by the quality of choice: involved (autonomous) vs. noninvolved (spontaneous) one. Both groups revealed notable differences by personality variables.