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Regions where voters have neurotic personalities in the US and UK voted for Donald Trump and Brexit


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Regions where voters have more neurotic personality traits were more likely to vote for Donald Trump in the US or Brexit in the UK, researchers found.

Using personality data from British and American participants, a team of experts tested regional levels of fear, anxiety and anger, comparing them to the traits historically correlated with political orientation.

In the 50 US counties, there was a nine percent increase in Republican votes from 2012 to 2016 and those with the lowest fear and anxiety showed a shift of only 2 percent.

Similar findings were uncovered in the 50 UK districts with the highest levels of fear and anxiety – 60 percent of voters supported Brexit and only 46 percent in the lowest areas.

 

Regions where voters have more neurotic personality traits were more likely to vote for Donald Trump (pictured) in the US or Brexit in the UK, researchers found

The study was conducted by researchers from Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Ilmenau University of Technology, University of Cambridge, the London School of Economics and Political Science, Melbourne University and The University of Texas at Austin.

The group looked at how fear and worry played a key role in both the US 2016 election and Brexit campaigns, as this is the first time such events focused around the anxiety and worry of the public.

Lead author Martin Obschonka, a psychologist and associate professor in entrepreneurship at QUT said: ‘The models traditionally used for predicting and explaining political behavior did not capture an essential factor that influenced people’s voting decisions in 2016.’

‘We propose a kind of ‘sleeper effect.’

In the 50 US counties, there was a nine percent increase in Republican votes from 2012 to 2016 and those with the lowest fear and anxiety showed a shift of only 2 percent

In the 50 US counties, there was a nine percent increase in Republican votes from 2012 to 2016 and those with the lowest fear and anxiety showed a shift of only 2 percent

‘Under normal conditions these traits have no influence, but in certain circumstances, widespread anxiety and fear in a region have the potential to profoundly impact the geopolitical landscape.’

For this study, the team investigated personality data of 417,217 British and 3,167,041 United States participants.

They then tested regional levels of fear, anxiety and anger, which were compared to the traits historically correlated with political orientation (openness and conscientiousness) to measure the link between regional psychological climate and 2016 voting behavior.

Researchers found a link between regions with higher levels of anxiety and fear with the Brexit and Trump votes, and an even stronger influence of such traits when considering Trump gains since the 2012 election, when Mitt Romney was the Republican candidate.

In the 50 US counties, there was a nine percent increase in Republican votes from 2012 to 2016.

Similar findings were uncovered in the 50 UK districts with the highest levels of fear and anxiety – 60 percent of voters supported Brexit and only 46 percent in the lowest areas

Similar findings were uncovered in the 50 UK districts with the highest levels of fear and anxiety – 60 percent of voters supported Brexit and only 46 percent in the lowest areas 

Similar findings were uncovered in the 50 UK districts with the highest levels of fear and anxiety – 60 percent of voters supported Brexit and only 46 percent in the lowest.

Sam Gosling, co-author and UT Austin psychology professor, said: ‘This finding supports our initial suspicion that the regions highest on neuroticism are particularly receptive to political campaigns that emphasize danger and loss and that previous campaigns have not tapped into these themes as strongly as we saw in 2016.’

Researchers also considered the role of region’s industrial heritage, political attitude, racial composition, educational attainment and economic conditions.

In England, rural areas and industrialized locations had both higher levels of anxiety or fear and Brexit votes.

And in the U.S., these personality traits also predicted Trump support in battlefields such as Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Ohio, as well as the Midwestern ‘Rust Belt.’

Higher population density, economic earnings, educational attainment and openness traits were negatively related to Brexit and Trump votes, while conscientiousness showed little to no effect in either case.

‘Much as the consequences of a region’s fearful or anxious tendencies may remain hidden until certain conditions are met, there may be other regional characteristics that have the potential to influence geopolitical events but the necessary conditions have not yet materialized,’ Gosling said.

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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