Personality Profile Predicts President Bush’s Midterm Election Gains
November 5, 2002
On November 6, 2002, pundits will offer many explanations for President George W. Bush’s unprecedented midterm gains in the House of Representatives and Senate, including his policy preferences, the aftermath of 9/11, his “war on terrorism,” and the fundamental soundness of the American economy despite the stock market plunge in the first two years of the Bush administration.
Certainly, none of these factors can be discounted in their entirety; however, they must be viewed in proper context. The context is this: George W. Bush’s personality profile predicts a popular presidency. I quote from the conclusion of my chapter on “The Political Personality of U.S. President George W. Bush” in a recently published book on American leaders:
George W. Bush’s major personality-based leadership strengths are the important political skills of charisma and interpersonality—a personable, confident, socially responsive, outgoing tendency that will enable him to connect with critical constituencies, mobilize popular support, and retain a following and his self-confidence in the face of adversity. Outgoing leaders characteristically are confident in their social abilities, skilled in the art of social influence, and have a charming, engaging personal style that tends to make people like them and overlook their gaffes and foibles. (Immelman, 2002, p. 101)
The impact of personality on presidential politics is implicit in the observation that the 1979–1980 hostage crisis and stand-off with Iran generated no rally ’round the flag effect for Jimmy Carter—a very different personality indeed.
Immelman, A. (2002). The political personality of U.S. president George W. Bush. In L. O. Valenty & O. Feldman (Eds.), Political leadership for the new century: Personality and behavior among American leaders (pp. 81–103). Westport, CT: Praeger.