Acta Politica

, Volume 54, Issue 4, pp 667–683 | Cite as

Nice guys finish last: personality and political success

  • Jeroen JolyEmail author
  • Stuart Soroka
  • Peter Loewen
Original Article


Is there a link between personality and the electoral and in-office success of politicians? Using the Ten-Item Personality Inventory, we examine whether the Five-Factor Model personality traits are correlated with political success among Belgian elected officials. We look at three different measures of political success, corresponding to different stages of the political career—electoral success, years in office, and access to an elite political position—and find lower levels of agreeableness are systematically correlated with greater success. These results are in line with those found among American and European CEO’s (Boudreau et al. in J Vocat Behav 58(1):53–81, 2001). This study offers a unique insight in the type of personality voters and party leadership look for and reward among politicians.


Elites Political careers Personality Elections 


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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  2. 2.Department of Communication Studies and the Institute for Social ResearchUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.Munk School of Global Affairs and Public PolicyUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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