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Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics

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The Political Personalities 1996 U.S. Presidential Candidates Bill Clinton and Bob Dole

"The political personalities of 1996 U.S. presidential candidates Bill Clinton and Bob Dole" by Aubrey Immelman (1998). Leadership Quarterly, 9, 335-366.  [Reprint available upon request to academics, political psychology specialists, and professional journalists; 32 pages].


The personalities of President Bill Clinton and Senator Bob Dole were indirectly assessed from the conceptual perspective of Theodore Millon. Information pertaining to Bill Clinton and Bob Dole was collected from published biographical material and synthesized into personality profiles using Millon’s diagnostic criteria. President Clinton was found to be primarily Ambitious/arrogant and Outgoing/gregarious, whereas Senator Dole emerged from the assessment as primarily Dominant/controlling and Conscientious/dutiful. A dimensional reconceptualization of the results to examine convergences among the present Millon-based findings, Simonton’s dimensions of presidential style, and the five-factor model suggests that Clinton is predominantly charismatic/extraverted, whereas Dole is deliberative/conscientious and relatively low on interpersonality/agreeableness. The profile for Bill Clinton is consistent with a presidency troubled by ethical questions and lapses of judgment, and provides an explanatory framework for Clinton’s high achievement drive and his ability to retain a following and maintain his self-confidence in the face of adversity.

Page maintained by Aubrey Immelman, USPP director and Suzanne Wetzel, USPP contributor

Last modified: 04/16/2000