The Electoral Success of Angels and Demons: Big Five, Dark Triad, and Performance at the Ballot Box


  • Alessandro Nai


The article tests whether the personality of candidates – in terms of their Big Five (extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, and openness) and Dark triad (narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism) – is associated with their electoral results. Via a novel dataset based on expert ratings for 122 candidates having competed in 55 recent national elections worldwide, and controlling for several covariates, results show that a better performance at the ballot box is associated with high conscientiousness, openness to experience and psychopathy. Extraversion is negatively associated with better results. Analyses also reveal profile effects; extraversion is linked to worse results especially for incumbents and younger candidates, conscientiousness and narcissism are associated with better results especially for candidates on the right-hand side of the ideological spectrum, and openness is associated with better results for male candidates.