Bernie Sanders

The Personality Profile of 2016 Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders

April 19, 2016

A psychological analysis of Vermont senator Bernie Sanders — a contender for the Democratic nomination in the 2016 presidential election — by Catherine Lundstrom, Hanae Nakamoto, Jacob Wankel, Christian Grande, Joe Trenzeluk, Atarah Pinder, and Aubrey Immelman, Ph.D., at the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics, revealed that Sanders’s primary personality patterns are Dominant/controlling and Contentious/resolute, with secondary Ambitious/confident features. In summary, Sanders’s personality composite can be characterized as a deliberative nonconformist. (Note: This is a pilot study with a lower confidence level than comparable studies of Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and Ted Cruz.)

Poster - Bernie Sanders 2016
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Analysis

Preliminary analysis of Bernie Sanders’s psychological profile — based on the finding of substantial social dominance (MIDC scale 1A = 13), augmented by considerable contentiousness (MIDC scale 5B = 8) and bolstered by a healthy dose of self-confidence, or adaptive narcissism (MIDC scale 2 = 6) — suggests that Sanders will be tenacious in his quest for the Democratic nomination for president.

The big takeaway from the profile is the inference that Sanders will resist calls to drop out of the race and rally his supporters behind front-runner Hillary Clinton, even after it becomes clear that he has no path to winning the required number of delegates for the nomination. In short, it seems likely that Sanders, with his resolute, oppositional tendency will hound Clinton all the way to the Democratic National Convention with dogged determination.


May 2016 Update

Sanders: ‘The convention will be a contested contest’ (Rebecca Savransky, The Hill, May 1, 2016) — Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Sunday said there will be a “contested contest.” In a news conference from Washington, D.C., on Sunday, the Vermont senator urged superdelegates from states where he has won the majority of the vote to reconsider their support. … “We intend to fight for every vote in front of us and for every delegate remaining,” he said. … Full report

July 2016 Update

Bernie Sanders endorses Hillary Clinton (MJ Lee, Dan Merica, and Jeff Zeleny, CNN, July 12, 2016) — Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders formally declared an end to their political rivalry Tuesday, joining forces to take on a shared enemy: Donald Trump. … The long-anticipated unity event, coming less than two weeks ahead of the Democratic National Convention, effectively puts to rest Democratic fears of a political nightmare scenario: that Sanders might sit on his hands in the general election, or worse, run as a third-party candidate on the left. … Sanders’ endorsement had been elusive for Clinton long after she clinched the nomination. For weeks, Sanders refused to concede, continuing to hold rallies and advocate for his agenda, rattling Democrats eager to begin the general election. … Full report


Personal Electability Index (political impact) score

Bernie Sanders scores relatively low on the Millon Inventory of Diagnostic Criteria-based Personal Electability Index, which has accurately predicted the outcome of every presidential election since 1996.

Following are the PEI calculations for Bernie Sanders:

Bernie Sanders: PEI = 18

Scale: 1A 1B 2 3 4 5A 5B 6 7 8
Score: 13 5 6 3 5 0 8 3 0 4

Scale: 1A = 13; 2 = 6; 3 = 3; 6 = 3; 8 = 4

[Extraversion (scale 3) = 3] + [Narcissism (scale 2) = 6] + [Dominance (scale 1A) = 13] – [Introversion (scale 8) = 4] – [Conscientiousness (scale 6) = (4 – 4) = 0] = 22 – 4 = 18

Following are the PEI calculations for Sanders’s rivals:

John Kasich: PEI = 14

Scale: 1A 1B 2 3 4 5A 5B 6 7 8
Score: 7 3 4 3 5 1 3 2 0 0

Scale: 1A = 7; 2 = 4; 3 = 3; 6 = 2; 8 = 0

[Extraversion (scale 3) = 3] + [Narcissism (scale 2) = 4] + [Dominance (scale 1A) = 7] – [Introversion (scale 8) = 0] – [Conscientiousness (scale 6) = (2 – 2) = 0] = 14 – 0 = 14

Ted Cruz: PEI = 25

Scale: 1A 1B 2 3 4 5A 5B 6 7 8
Score: 13 6 8 4 0 0 4 2 0 0

Scale: 1A = 13; 2 = 8; 3 = 4; 6 = 2; 8 = 0

[Extraversion (scale 3) = 4] + [Narcissism (scale 2) = 8] + [Dominance (scale 1A) = 13] – [Introversion (scale 8) = 0] – [Conscientiousness (scale 6) = (2 – 2) = 0] = 25 – 0 = 25

Hillary Clinton: PEI = 29 (dysfunctionality adjusted)

Scale: 1A 1B 2 3 4 5A 5B 6 7 8
Score: 15 2 15 1 0 0 0 6 0 0

[Extraversion (scale 3) = 1] + [Narcissism (scale 2) = 15] + [Dominance (scale 1A) = 15] – [Introversion (scale 8) = 0] – [Conscientiousness (scale 6) = (6 – 4)  = 2] = 31 – 2 = 29

Donald Trump: PEI = 45 (dysfunctionality adjusted)

Scale: 1A 1B 2 3 4 5A 5B 6 7 8
Score: 19 11 24 19 1 0 6 2 1 0

Scale: 1A = 19; 2 = 24; 3 =19; 6 = 2; 8 = 0

[Extraversion (scale 3) = 15] + [Narcissism (scale 2) = 15] + [Dominance (scale 1A) = 15] – [Introversion (scale 8) = 0] – [Conscientiousness (scale 6) = (2 – 2) = 0] = 45 – 0 = 45


Update


Catherine Lundstrom (left) and Christian Grande (right) presented “The Political Personality of 2016 Presidential Contender Bernie Sanders” (by Catherine Lundstrom, Hanae Nakamoto, Jacob Wankel, Christian Grande, Joe Trenzeluk, and Atarah Pinder) at Scholarship and Creativity Day, College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University, April 21, 2016.


Related reports on this site

Projecting the Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election: The Personal Electability Index (Feb. 29, 2016)
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The Personality Profile of 2016 Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton (March 11, 2015)
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