Those struggling to understand why so many millions are supporting Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump may find answers in a new personality study that suggests the country’s population is more conservative than most believe.
The study, Born Liberal or Conservative, according to its researcher, Paul D. Tieger, provides a basis of data that suggests that many people like Trump because many people “are like Trump.”
“In other words, their inborn personality types — which influence their perceptions and values — are much more similar to his than to Hillary Clinton’s,” Tieger said Friday shortly after the release of his data.
The Trump phenomenon can’t be explained through demographics alone, Tieger said. All the polls show, he said, that the majority of his supporters are less educated white males.
“But demographics don’t tell the whole story,” Tieger said. “This new study shows how personality type — and not demographics — may be the X factor that decides the election.
“People who are predisposed (by their personality type) to be conservative represent about 75 percent of the U.S. population, compared with only about 25 percent for those who are more liberal,” Tieger said. “Although by no means a traditional conservative, Trump has a much bigger pool who are naturally hard-wired to receive his message.”
Tieger’s survey was released a few weeks ago and made available by news publications throughout Connecticut as well as in other states. Tieger said his sample is based on 2,700 completed surveys, in which people were asked questions related to their personalities.
“One need only compare how ‘Sensors’ and ‘Intuitives’ choose to spend their time and money to bring this distinction into clearer focus: Significantly more ‘Sensors’ than ‘Intuitives’ prefer country music to opera, NASCAR to ballet, reality TV to NPR, Fox News to MSNBC (and CNN) . . . and Dunkin’ Donuts to Starbucks,” Tieger said.
The goal of his study, Tieger said, was “to determine if there are inborn personality type characteristics that influence voters’ behavior, and how they may impact the 2016 presidential election.”
Tieger said his study showed the link between liberalism, conservatism, and educational level: the more education respondents indicated, the more they were likely to be liberal; the less education, the more conservative.
“Even if Clinton wins by a landslide — and Trump gets only 40 percent of the vote, that’s 50 million people who will have chosen his values over hers,” Tieger said. “And sadly, the fervor that has been fomented during this campaign will inevitably lead to even greater polarization and deadlock.
“Our results confirmed this finding, but demonstrate that personality type can have an even more powerful impact on voting behavior,” Tieger said.
Tieger added his study also showed that “with less than a month to go, almost 20 percent of participants are still undecided.”
As part of the study, participants completed a personality assessment which identified four powerful characteristics:
• “Sensors” primarily perceive the world through their five senses which makes them practical, realistic, down-to-earth more conventional people;
• “Intuitives” primarily perceive the world through the “sixth sense” naturally seeing how things are linked and connected;
• “Thinkers” are logical, analytical people who tend to make decisions objectively;
• “Feelers” are sensitive, helpful people who tend to make decisions based on their personal values.
Of the 2,700 who participated in the study, 11.8 percent had a high school degree or equivalent, 20.5 percent had some college but no degree, 9.6 percent an associate degree, 33.4 percent a bachelor degree, and 23.7 percent a graduate degree.
Tieger said traditional pollsters should look to the results of his study and learn.
“Polls which rely on demographic factors in its analysis can yield inaccurate results,” Tieger said, “because type often trumps (no pun intended) demographics. For example, two same-sex fraternal twins born moments apart, raised by the same parents in the same home, will almost always have very different personality types, which affect their attitudes, values, talents . . . and voting behavior.
“But if pollsters overemphasize the importance of demographics, they are likely to inaccurately predict voter behavior,” Tieger concluded.
Tieger is founder and chief executive officer of SpeedReading People and an internationally recognized expert on personality type. He has co-authored five books on the topic that have sold over 1 million copies.
As a jury consultant for over 25 years, he pioneered the application of “personality type” to help trial attorneys select and communicate with jurors in dozens of high profile civil and criminal cases.
SpeedReading People is a software company that applies online solutions to help businesses manage work teams.