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Regular version of the site

Book chapter

Basic Personal Values and Political Orientations

P. 63-82.
Schwartz S.

In the United States and many Western democracies, the individual personalities of voters rather than their social locations in various interest groups are presumably becoming decisive for political choice. This shift may reflect declining distinctiveness and extremity of parties as they seek the political center, increased complexity of political issues, growing interdependence among political units, and greater concern in the electorate with social relations and intimacy.

Early research on personality in politics dealt mainly with the dispositions, attitudes, and motives of voters and leaders. A broad literature attests to the merits and limitations of these approaches. More recent studies show that basic personal values largely mediate the effects of individuals’backgrounds and personality traits on voting behavior and on their core political attitudes. The 2006 ANES Pilot Study provided the first assessment of the role of basic personal values in politics in a representative American sample.