It’s Who’s on the Inside that Counts: Campaign Practitioner Personality and Campaign Electoral Integrity

  • Hans J. G. HassellEmail author
Original Paper


Candidates for public office (and the individuals who run their campaigns) are not a randomly selected subset of the general population. Individuals with certain personality traits are more likely to become involved in political campaigns, are more likely to harbor political ambition, are more likely to be recruited to run for public office, and are more likely to actually run for office. But what influence do differences in individual traits have on the behavior of political campaigns? Using a unique survey of staff and candidates working on congressional, senatorial, and gubernatorial campaigns in the 2016 election cycle, this research shows that individual personality traits influence the decisions that campaigns make during the election. Personality traits affect the acceptance of campaign negativity and unethical campaign behaviors.


Personality Political campaigns Campaign negativity Campaign tactics Ethical behavior 



I am grateful to Jonathan Klingler, Matthew Miles, Zoe Nemerever, Timothy Ryan, and three anonymous reviewers at Political Behavior (and Editor Dave Peterson) for their written comments and suggestions that vastly improved the quality of this work. I am fortunate to have good colleagues, specifically in this instance Quintin Beazer, Rob Carroll, and Matt Pietryka who provided key insights and suggestions as I worked on this project. I am also thankful to Ashley Brodell, Sandra Gomez, Nick Marn, and Zach Stoll for their help along the way in conducting the survey of campaigns. Lastly, this paper benefited from a great panel at the 2018 APSA conference. And yet despite all this incredible assistance from such good people, I’m sure there are still shortcomings and flaws to this work. Those shortcomings and errors are all mine. The data for this project is available at

Supplementary material

11109_2019_9535_MOESM1_ESM.docx (18 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 17 kb)


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Florida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA

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