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Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics

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The Political Personality of U.S. Vice President Al Gore

The Political Personality of U.S. Vice President Al Gore by Aubrey Immelman. Paper presented at the Twenty-First Annual Scientific Meeting of the International Society of Political Psychology, Montréal, Québec, July 12-15, 1998. [Available upon request to academics, political psychology specialists, and professional journalists; 33 pages]


This paper presents the results of an indirect assessment of the political personality of Vice President Al Gore, likely candidate in the U.S. presidential election of 2000, from the conceptual perspective of Theodore Millon. Information concerning Al Gore was collected from published biographical materials and print media, and synthesized into a personality profile using the Millon Inventory of Diagnostic Criteria (MIDC), which yields 28 normal and maladaptive personality classifications congruent with Axis II of DSM-IV.

The personality profile yielded by the MIDC was analyzed on the basis of interpretive guidelines provided in the Millon Index of Personality Styles Manual and compared with those of President Bill Clinton and Senator Bob Dole. Vice President Gore’s primary personality patterns were found to be Conscientious/dutiful and Introverted/aloof.

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 Gore is highly deliberative/conscientious, somewhat lacking in interpersonality/ agreeableness, and low in charisma/extraversion. In terms of Renshon’s elements of character, Gore’s profile suggests that his ambition is rooted in a sense of duty; that his character integrity is well consolidated; and that his interpersonal relatedness is marked more by detachment than by a tendency to move toward, away from, or against others.

Al Gore’s major personality strengths are his conscientiousness and low susceptibility to ethical misconduct. His major personality-based limitations pertaining to presidential performance are his deficits in the important political skills of interpersonality, charisma, spontaneity, and his self-defeating potential for tenaciously pursuing a pet policy or dogmatically advancing some central principle in defiance of legislative or public disapproval.

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

Last modified: 04/06/2000