Mitt Romney Personality Profile
June 2, 2011
A psychological analysis of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, conducted in fall 2007 by Julie Seifert, Mick Lundstrum, and Aubrey Immelman, Ph.D., at the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics revealed that Romney’s primary personality pattern is Conscientious/dutiful, with secondary features of the Dominant/asserting and Ambitious/confident patterns.
More » The Political Personality of 2012 Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney. Paper presented at the 35th Annual Scientific Meeting of the International Society of Political Psychology, Chicago, IL, July 6–9, 2012. Abstract and link for full-text (35 pages; PDF) download at Digital Commons: http://digitalcommons.csbsju.edu/psychology_pubs/98/
By Aubrey Immelman
This paper presents the results of an indirect assessment of the personality of Willard Mitt Romney, Republican presidential candidate in the 2008 U.S. presidential election and Republican presidential nominee in 2012.
The study was conducted in 2007–2008 and 2012, from the conceptual perspective of personologist Theodore Millon. Information concerning Romney was collected from biographical sources and media reports and synthesized into a personality profile using the Millon Inventory of Diagnostic Criteria (MIDC), which yields 34 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 MIDC and Millon Index of Personality Styles manuals. Romney’s primary personality pattern was found to be Conscientious/dutiful, complemented by secondary Dominant/asserting, Ambitious/confident, and Accommodating/cooperative features and a minor Retiring/reserved tendency.
In the absence of other primary personality patterns that might serve to modify or offset high conscientiousness, Romney’s is best described as a dutiful conformist. Leaders with this personality profile are characteristically prudent, proper, dignified, dependable, and more principled than most personality types. They are highly organized, with a strong work ethic and careful attention to detail, which accounts in part for Romney’s resounding success in organizational and corporate management and financial restructuring.
Dutiful and diligent, conscientious leaders excel in crafting public policy. On the downside, conscientious leaders often lack the retail political skills required to consummate their policy objectives. In short, they are more technocratic than visionary. Furthermore, in American politics, conscientious leaders lacking in extraversion face serious challenges in attaining high-level public office, because of their difficulty in connecting emotionally with voters and the media.
The major implication of the study is that it offers an empirically based personological framework for identifying Romney’s major personal limitations as a candidate and anticipating his likely leadership style as president.
Immelman, A. (2012, July). The political personality of 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Paper presented at the 35th Annual Scientific Meeting of the International Society of Political Psychology, Chicago, IL, July 6–9, 2012. Retrieved from Digital Commons website: http://digitalcommons.csbsju.edu/psychology_pubs/98/
Following is a political-psychological analysis based on the 2007 study.
Dutiful Romney Continues Struggle for Votes (Mick Lundstrum and Aubrey Immelman, Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics, Jan. 11, 2008) — Mitt Romney, the presidential candidate better known for his Mormon faith than for his policy positions, has been dogged by obstacles and setbacks on the campaign trail. In Iowa, where he had dumped nearly three-fifths of his campaign expenditure, he was blindsided by the come-from-nowhere Huckabee juggernaut. In New Hampshire, he was bested by a resuscitated back-from-the-dead McCain campaign. … So, how do we account for Romney’s floundering campaign for Republican support? … Full report
A psychological profile of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, developed at the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics during Romney’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns, reveals that the Republican nominee is highly conscientious, with a personality type best described as a dutiful conformist.
As shown in the pie chart above, Romney is primarily a Conscientious/dutiful personality, complemented by secondary Dominant/asserting, Ambitious/confident, and Accommodating/cooperative features and a minor Retiring/reserved tendency.
Romney’s personality profile provides a stable framework for anticipating his likely leadership style as president, if elected. Following is a political-psychological prognostication of a prospective Romney presidency, as reported in the St. Cloud Times.
Romney’s Leader Personality (Aubrey Immelman, St. Cloud Times, August 30, 2012) — “The task before Mitt Romney as he accepts his party’s presidential nomination” tonight in Tampa “is to convince the narrow segment of remaining undecided voters to boot President Obama from office, and then, decide on Romney as a suitable alternative,” wrote NBC News political reporter Michael O’Brien. … Indeed, the question foremost in the minds of voters as the GOP nominee takes the stage at the Republican National Convention likely will be: What kind of president would Romney make? … Full report
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Aubrey Immelman and Andrew Obritsch in Chicago at the annual scientific meeting of the International Society of Political Psychology to present their research on Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, July 2012.
Race for 2012 GOP nomination heats up (NBC “Today,” June 1, 2010) – Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is to officially announce in New Hampshire that he’s running for president. NBC’s Chuck Todd reports on Romney as well as Sarah Palin’s bus tour and U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner’s Twitter troubles. (03:30)
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Back from the Dead: Romney to Make 2012 Bid (Calvin Woodward and Nancy Benac, Associated Press, Jun. 2, 2011) — What are the odds of this? A guy gets into a head-on collision, has a police officer write “He is dead” at the scene, and lives to tell. Mitt Romney knows a thing or two about second chances. … Full report
Research assistants Amanda Nusbaum and Feiran Chen presented their summer research project on “The Personality Profile of 2012 Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney” at the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, Minn., July 30, 2012. The research was conducted under the auspices of the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics, directed by College of St. Benedict / St. John’s University associate professor of psychology Aubrey Immelman, Ph.D.
A new documentary film by Utah filmmaker Greg Whiteley about 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, titled simply “Mitt,” offers an interesting validity check on the psychological profiles of Romney developed at the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics.
The initial study, conducted in 2007-2008 during the Republican presidential primaries, revealed Romney’s personality pattern as primarily Conscientious-dutiful, with secondary features of the Dominant-asserting and Ambitious-confident patterns. A more comprehensive, in-depth study of Romney conducted in 2011-2012 when he emerged as the likely Republican nominee for president, yielded essentially identical results: A primarily Conscientious-dutiful personality, complemented by secondary Dominant-asserting, Ambitious-confident, and Accommodating-cooperative features and a minor Retiring-reserved tendency.
Photo: The Associated Press
‘Mitt’ Gets Real: Documentary Shows Another Side of Romney (Domenico Montanaro, NBC News, Jan. 17, 2014) — “Mitt,” the documentary by Utah filmmaker Greg Whiteley about 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, is worth watching for the simple fact that viewers get access to a Romney most have never seen. The movie, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival Friday and is set to be released to the public next Friday through Netflix, lets viewers inside the guarded inner circle of the Romney family during critical moments of Romney’s presidential runs in 2008 and 2012. … Full report