Ron DeSantis

The Personality Profile of 2024 Republican Presidential Contender Ron DeSantis

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Summary and Formulation

The poster reports the results of an indirect psychodiagnostic assessment of the personality of Florida governor Ron DeSantis, a contender for the Republican nomination in the 2024 U.S. presidential election.

Psychodiagnostically relevant data about DeSantis were 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 DSM-III-R, DSM-IV, and DSM-5.

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. Preliminary analysis indicates that DeSantis’s primary personality patterns are Dominant/controlling and Ambitious/confident, supplemented by secondary Retiring/reserved and Contentious/resolute patterns and subsidiary Conscientious/respectful features.

The prominence of the Dominant, Ambitious, and Retiring patterns in DeSantis’s profile is indicative of a high-dominance introvert political personality type with an expansionist leadership orientation and – because of a distinct Conscientious tendency – an incrementalist personal political style in consummating his policy objectives.

Dominant leaders enjoy the power to direct others and to evoke obedience and respect; they are tough and unsentimental and often make effective leaders. They view themselves as self-reliant, unyielding, and strong and are disinclined to experience and express compassion. This personality pattern encapsulates the “high-dominance” component of DeSantis’s personality composite and predisposes him to an “expansionist” leadership orientation, rooted in a strong power motive.

Ambitious leaders are characteristically self-confident, competitive, daring, bold, charming, and skilled at winning others over to their causes and purposes; they easily assume leadership roles, expect others to recognize their special qualities, and may act as though entitled. This personality pattern contributes to and potentiates the “expansionist” tendency in DeSantis’s leadership orientation.

Retiring (introverted) leaders tend to be aloof and solitary, generally appear complacent and untroubled, and rarely express inner feelings or thoughts, with a corresponding tendency to be somewhat deficient in the ability to recognize the needs or feelings of others. They prefer distant or limited involvement with others, tend not to develop strong interpersonal ties, are most comfortable when left alone, and tend to work in a slow, quiet, methodical manner. This personality pattern constitutes the “introvert” component of DeSantis’s personality composite.

Contentious leaders are individualistic, headstrong, often cynical personalities that tend to take issue with the status quo and are quick to challenge rules, sometimes with single-minded commitment to a cause. Under favorable conditions, they are productive and constructively independent‑minded, willing to speak out to remedy troublesome issues. However, under trying circumstances, they may harbor resentment without expressing it directly, may view themselves as lacking in interpersonal skills, and may appear to be awkward or distracted.

Conscientious leaders are dutiful and diligent, have a strong work ethic, are attentive to detail, strive to uphold rules and regulations, and are loyal to their causes. They are adept at crafting public policy, but may lack the retail political skills required to consummate their policy objectives and are more technocratic than visionary. They tend to be formal, proper, and dignified in their interactions with the public.

This is a preliminary report of a study currently in progress. Data collection will continue through the 2024 U.S. presidential election cycle and DeSantis’s profile will be refined and updated if warranted by ongoing data analysis.

The Personality Profile of 2024 Republican Presidential Contender Ron DeSantis (Poster). Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics, St. John’s University/College of St. Benedict, August 2023. Abstract and download link at Digital Commons:

Mikayla Santiago presents “The Personality Profile of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis” at the Summer Research Celebration, College of St. Benedict, St. Joseph, Minn., August 3, 2023.

Presidential Electability Index (political impact) score

Ron DeSantis scores low to moderate on the Millon Inventory of Diagnostic Criteria-based Presidential Electability Index (PEI), which employs publicly perceived candidate personality traits as the predictor variable and has accurately predicted — before Super Tuesday — the outcome of every presidential election from 1996 to 2016.

Ron DeSantis
Presidential Electability Index
Range: 13–21

PEI = 13–21 (17 ±4)

            Scale: 1A 1B 2 3 4 5A 5B 6 7 8
Lower limit: 13 1 9 0 1 0 6 3 1 9
Upper limit: 19 9 16 3 3 5 9 8 10 13

Lower limit PEI: [Extraversion (scale 3) = 0] + [Narcissism (scale 2) = 9] + [Dominance (scale 1A) = 13] – [Introversion (scale 8) = 9] – [Conscientiousness (scale 6) = (3 – 3) = 0] = 22 – 9 = 13

Upper limit PEI: [Extraversion (scale 3) = 3] + [Narcissism (scale 2) = 16] + [Dominance (scale 1A) = 19] – [Introversion (scale 8) = 13] – [Conscientiousness (scale 6) = (8 – 4) = 4] = 38 – 17 = 21

Time on campaign trail tracks with downward trend in DeSantis polling

538 average: Feb. 13: 39%; Mar. 18: 26%; May 12: 22%; Aug. 14: 14%

FiveThirtyEight averages for Republican presidential primary candidates, January–August 2023

USA Today/Suffolk University poll: Nikki Haley surges, nearly ties Ron DeSantis as the alternative to Trump

Susan Page (USA Today, Oct. 23, 2023) reports:

… Haley’s support has risen to 11% of registered voters who plan to vote in GOP primaries or caucuses, up from 4% in the USA TODAY/Suffolk poll taken in June and just one percentage point below DeSantis. His 12% standing was a steep fall from his 23% support four months ago. …

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