The methodological basis of the assessment of politicians’ perceived personality traits
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The aim of the article. Numerous studies show that the key role in a politician’s image play voters’ beliefs concerning the politician’s personality traits. In order to be able to manage a politician’s image, one should answer two strictly interrelated questions: (1) what personality traits of politicians are important to voters and (2) how to measure them? There are three different solutions concerning the number of traits and the manner of dispositional measurement of politicians’ personality. The first group of researchers investigate politicians’ image using questionnaires developed ad hoc for the purposes of specific studies, not based on any models of personality. The second group of researchers start from the implicit or explicit assumption that voters perceive politicians on the same dimensions on which ordinary people is perceived; consequently, they measure perceived personality traits with the same tools that are used in psychological counselling centres. The results of numerous studies prove, however, that politicians’ personality is perceived on a smaller number of dimensions than ordinary people’s personality, which suggests the need for a systematisation of politicians’ personality traits as perceived by voters and the need to develop measurement scales corresponding to the dimensions identified. The third group of researchers have adapted the methodology of psycholexical research in personality psychology and used it for the purpose of studying the image of several dozen Ukrainian politicians in the years 2011-2014. The aim of the paper was to verify the findings of previous studies on the perception of Ukrainian politicians and to develop a scale for measuring politicians’ personality traits. The results of the analysis. In order to verify the factor structure and the psychometric properties of the scales, research with 210 students as participants was conducted before the 2012 parliamentary election in Ukraine. Test-retest stability was verified on a sample of 52 students at an interval of one month, at the turn of 2015. The results of principal component analysis at the individual and aggregated levels showed that individuals perceive politicians’ dispositional image on four dimensions: (1) Strength, (2) Intellect, (3) Dishonesty, (4) Confrontationality. Based on the results obtained, two versions of the questionnaire were developed: for the complete adjective list (4 scales х 7 adjectives) and for its abbreviated version (4 scales х 4 adjectives). The complete adjective list consisted of the following items: (1) Strength: persistent, daring, resolute, purposeful, strong, willed, leader; (2) Intellect: orator, eloquent, intellectual, cultured, educated, clever, knowledgeable; (3) Dishonesty: mercenary, lying, corrupt, crafty, two-faced, honest, sincere; (4) Confrontationality: calm, scandalous, restrained, confrontational, aggressive, emotional, balanced. Confirmatory factor analysis performed for the complete list and for its abbreviated version showed an acceptable fit of the model to M-centred data. The scales are characterised by good reliability and test-retest stability. The results of the analyses confirmed a strict relationship between the personality traits attributed to a politician and the attitude towards as well as preference for him or her and at both the individual and aggregated levels. The trait most strongly related to preference for politicians was their perceived Dishonesty, followed by Strength, while Confrontationality and Intellect were somewhat more weakly related to voter preference. Conclusions and directions for further researches. The results of the research have shown the stability of the four-factor structure of the perception of politicians at both the individual and ecological levels, confirmed the value of the developed personality scales in explaining the variance in preference for politicians and the good psychometric properties of the questionnaire concerning the internal consistency of the scales and the test-retest stability of measurement at the individual level.У статті розкрито недоліки існуючих методик оцінювання сприйманих ознак особистості політиків і розроблено інноваційний методичний підхід щодо комплексного оцінювання іміджу особистості політиків. Отримані опитувальники дають можливість планувати маркетингові заходи з урахуванням активного впливу на сприйняття тих ознак особистості політиків, які найбільш тісно пов'язані з політичними уподобаннями виборців в Україні.
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