Personality and demographic correlates of political ideology

Adrian Furnham, George Horne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (SciVal)


This paper was concerned with “bright” and “dark-side” personality trait correlates of political beliefs. In a series of three studies we asked people to rate their political beliefs on a simple, single, left-right, liberalism-conservatism dimension. We used three British Prolific samples: N = 500 (study 1); N = 506 (study 2) and 223 (study 3). Our major focus was on how much incremental variance can be accounted for by trait variables over demographic and other belief variables. In the first study we found three personality traits, particularly Conscientiousness was related to right-wing/Conservative and Openness to left-wing Liberal political beliefs: personality accounted for around 8% incremental variance over demographic and other belief variables. In the second study we found fewer significant correlations between personality and political beliefs, accounting for 3% of the variance but that the Militant Extremist Mindset factors added another 2% of the variance. In the third study we found evidence that three “dark-side” personality disorder factors namely Narcissism, Psychopathy and Sadism accounted for around 5% of incremental variance over demographic and belief variables. The implications and limitations of the results are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111320
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Early online date20 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Dark- and bright-side traits
  • Demography
  • Incremental variance
  • Militant extremist mindset
  • Personality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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