Proposal for the 2016 Pilot Study: Conflict Orientation and Political Behavior

Increasingly, research into political behavior has found that individuals’ personalities and predispositions—even those that appear to have little to do with politics–influence their political choices. To this end, the ANES has included additional psychological measures, such as the Ten Item Personality Inventory, in recent Time Series studies. However, measuring basic personality traits like the Big Five is only the first step in unpacking the ways in which stable psychological traits vary across Americans and inform their vote choice and political participation. I propose that individuals’ predispositions towards conflict, an inherent part of the political process, provide further insight into political behavior, particularly in the contemporary context of heightened incivility, disagreement and polarization. I offer evidence from multiple online surveys and past research by other scholars to demonstrate the relationship between political participation and conflict orientation, as well as the importance of conflict orientation to political science as a discipline.

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