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American Politics | Leadership Studies | Other Psychology | Personality and Social Contexts | Political History


This article highlights the key role of extraversion with reference to electoral success in U.S. presidential elections since the advent of television and argues that the introverted Al Gore will therefore not be elected president in 2000. Starting with Franklin D. Roosevelt, nearly every U.S. president has been extraverted relative to other U.S. presidents, except for Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Jimmy Carter. Moreover, since the first televised presidential debate (between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon) in 1960, the more outgoing candidate has consistently won the election, with the exception of Nixon in 1968 and 1972.


The research was conducted at the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics (USPP), a collaborative faculty–student research program in the psychology of politics at St. John’s University and the College of St. Benedict in Collegeville and St. Joseph, Minnesota, directed by Aubrey Immelman, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology, who specializes in the psychological assessment of presidential candidates and world leaders.

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Related report

Personality is the main issue. Clio’s Psyche, vol. 7, no. 3, Dec. 2000, pp. 156–158.