Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics

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For Release: Immediate
August 18, 2000

Contact: Aubrey Immelman
CSB/SJU Associate Professor of Psychology

Presidential Scholar Predicts Election Outcome

    Collegeville, Minn. --  A presidential scholar at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University is predicting that Texas Gov. George W. Bush will post a double-digit victory over Vice President Al Gore in the 2000 presidential election. [see footnote]

    Aubrey Immelman, a political psychologist, believes the 2000 election results will follow a pattern similar to the 1980 election, in which Ronald Reagan carried 44 states and defeated Jimmy Carter with a margin of 51 to 41 percent of the popular vote, with independent candidate John Anderson gaining close to seven percent. Immelman, who specializes in political personality assessment and group dynamics, bases his predictions on candidates’ voter appeal as shaped by their publicly perceived personality characteristics.

    Immelman, who directs the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics [], recently presented his study on the political personalities, leadership styles, and policy orientations of George W. Bush and Al Gore at the annual scientific meeting of the International Society of Political Psychology, in Seattle. In a similar paper, in 1996, Immelman predicted that President Clinton, in a second term, would be "susceptible to scandal," "commit errors of judgment," and fall short in his leadership obligation of "guarding protocol and morality against violation." [Both papers are available upon request.] Based on his studies of Bush and Gore, Immelman disputes the conventional wisdom among political commentators that this will be a closely contested race. He does not expect that Gore will emerge from the Democratic National Convention with the customary bump in the polls.

    The outgoing, gregarious Bush, according to Immelman, shares many personality characteristics with Theodore Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, and to some extent Bill Clinton. The conscientious, introverted Gore is most similar to Woodrow Wilson and Herbert Hoover. Noting that no candidate with Gore’s personality profile has been elected president since the advent of television, Immelman points out that among candidates of this era, Gore most closely resembles Michael Dukakis, Walter Mondale, and to a lesser extent Jimmy Carter.

    Immelman first predicted that Gore would lose to Bush in a paper presented at a meeting of The Psychohistory Forum in New York City in March 1999. He publicly reported his analysis in an MSNBC column in June 1999, available online at

    Immelman, an associate professor of psychology, has been a member of the CSB/SJU faculty since 1991. He has conducted extensive research in the area of political personality, including studies of President Bill Clinton, New York Senate candidate Hillary Clinton, and Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura. Immelman, who is a member of the governing council of the International Society of Political Society, is also a newspaper columnist and has been an MSNBC contributor.

    Saint John's University for men and the College of Saint Benedict for women are partners in liberal arts education, providing students the opportunity to benefit from the distinctions of not one, but two nationally recognized Catholic, residential, undergraduate institutions. Together CSB and SJU challenge students to live balanced lives of learning, work, leadership and service in a changing world.



Addendum from USPP Tipsheet, Aug. 22, 2000:

    If one averages's Battleground 2000 tracking poll for Jul. 31 to Aug. 3 (Republican National Convention) and Aug. 15 to Aug. 18 (Democratic National Convention), the numbers look as follows:











    It is risky to base strong inferences on these numbers until comparable data becomes available for the last week of August, by which time the postconvention atmosphere will be more stable, less volatile.   One rational inference would be that on Labor Day Bush will be within about three percentage points of 47 in the Battleground poll, and Gore within about three percentage points of 38.  Given that the Battleground poll has tended to show a larger lead for Bush than have other polls, a judicious prediction would be that Bush will lead Gore by 44 to 41 percent.  The worst-case scenario for Gore is a Bush lead of 50 to 35 percent on Labor Day, which could foreshadow a repitition of the 1980 election outcome in the race between Reagan and Carter -- two personalities that bear important similarities to, respectively, George W. Bush and Al Gore (though the latter's personality probably is more similar to that of Walter Mondale or Michael Dukakis).

Page maintained by Aubrey Immelman

Last modified: 08/24/2000