Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics

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The Political Personality of 2004
Democratic Presidential Candidate John Kerry

Aubrey Immelman and Adam Beatty
Department of Psychology
Saint John’s University

Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics
College of Saint Benedict
St. Joseph, MN 56374

Telephone: (320) 363-5481
Fax: (320) 363-5582

Paper presented at the Twenty-Eighth Annual Scientific Meeting
of the International Society of Political Psychology

Toronto, ON

July 3–6, 2005


The paper reports the results of an indirect assessment of the personality of Sen. John Kerry, Democratic Party nominee in the 2004 U.S. presidential election.

Sen. Kerry’s primary personality pattern is Ambitious/confident, with secondary features of the Dominant/asserting and Dauntless/venturesome patterns.

The amalgam of Ambitious and Dominant patterns in Sen. Kerry’s profile indicates an adaptive, nonpathological variant of the elitist narcissist syndrome.

People with an Ambitious–Dominant personality composite feel privileged and empowered by virtue of special childhood status, cultivate special status and advantages by association, are upwardly mobile, seek the good life, and tend to lay claim to greater accomplishment than is borne out by their actual achievements.

The major implication of the study is that it offers an empirically based personological framework for evaluating conflicting claims about John Kerry’s integrity and candor, thus providing a basis for inferring his character as a presidential candidate.

The full 25-page report is available upon request to political psychology professionals.

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Last updated January 13, 2006