Study: Politicians more extroverted

A New Zealand study has found that its politicians are more extroverted than the general population.  

A Myers-Briggs-based questionnaire by BlacklandPR of all current MPs and 30 former MPs found that 31% of respondents were strongly extroverted while just 12% were strongly introverted.  57% were ‘amibiverts’ – people with varying levels of the traits.

That compares with studies that show that among the general population, extreme introversion or extroversion is found in 25% of the public respectively.

The split between introverts and extroverts in the general population is 49.5 / 50.5% respectively. The split among New Zealand MPs is 41% / 59% respectively.

The survey also found that 77% of politicians claimed to have more close friends than the average person.

BlacklandPR Director, Mark Blackham, said that most politicians were very similar to the general population.

“Like most of us, politicians are a mix of things; there are times that they enjoy social contact, and times they like being alone or with close friends and family.

“For example, 71% of respondents preferred being home than at public events, and 82% would choose to spend time with a partner, family or a friend than with large numbers of people.

“Politicians place highest priority on life at home – 71% preferred being at home than at public events.”  

Introversion and extroversion describe traits identified in many theories of personality. Introverts tend to be more quiet, reserved and introspective. Extroverts tend to enjoy talking, and gain energy from social interaction. It is thought that everyone has elements of introversion and extraversion, but tend to lean one way or the other.

“Politicians may appear boisterous and unashamed, but they clearly suffer from the same insecurities as the rest of us.  Half of them worry about what people think of them at least ‘sometimes’, and 30% regularly worry about it. Fewer than 20% claim to be unworried by other people’s attitudes.”

The survey was conducted between the 5th and 15th of March 2013. Current and former MPs were asked 25 questions chosen from the Myers-Briggs personality testing system.  The poll was answered by 22% of recipients.  Their names were anonymous to the system, but included 2 Party Leaders, 3 Cabinet Ministers, and 8 MPs ranked in their caucus top 10 (current or former).

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