Poster Title

What Traits Make the Best President?: The Role of Intrinsic Religiosity in Predicting the Importance of Ability and Morality for Presidential Candidates

Grade Level at Time of Presentation

Senior

Institution

Northern Kentucky University

KY House District #

n/a

KY Senate District #

n/a

Department

Department of Psychology

Abstract

The current study was intended to discern the importance of ability and morality in a presidential candidate and the degree to which religiosity predicts valuing these characteristics. As part of a large questionnaire, 258 college students (46 male, 208 female, 4 not reported) completed a measure of intrinsic religiosity (the view that one’s religion is important in itself and not merely for social benefits). Participants also rated the degree to which 10 traits, five pertaining to ability (e.g., intelligence) and five pertaining to morality (e.g., integrity), were among the most important for a presidential candidate to possess, on 9-point Likert-type scales anchored with the phrases “Strongly disagree” and “Strongly agree.” All 10 traits were judged to be relatively important, but the degree of importance varied. A descriptive analysis revealed the following means: good judgment (8.18), knowledgeability (8.08), self-control (8.03), honorableness (7.97), integrity (7.85), ethicalness (7.78), intelligence (7.71), interpersonal skill (7.30), articulateness (7.00), and humility (6.98). Indices were also created by summing the ability traits ( = .86, mean = 38.28) and the morality traits ( = .82, mean = 38.70). Intrinsic religiosity was correlated with the morality index (r = .164, p = .012), and with two of the moral traits, humility (r = .195, p = .003) and honorableness (r = .136, p = .036). Intrinsic religiosity was not correlated with the ability index or any of the ability traits (all rs < .044, all ps > .50). Overall, both ability and morality were valued, as demonstrated by the means, but religious participants were more likely to value certain moral traits than were participants lower in religiosity.

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What Traits Make the Best President?: The Role of Intrinsic Religiosity in Predicting the Importance of Ability and Morality for Presidential Candidates

The current study was intended to discern the importance of ability and morality in a presidential candidate and the degree to which religiosity predicts valuing these characteristics. As part of a large questionnaire, 258 college students (46 male, 208 female, 4 not reported) completed a measure of intrinsic religiosity (the view that one’s religion is important in itself and not merely for social benefits). Participants also rated the degree to which 10 traits, five pertaining to ability (e.g., intelligence) and five pertaining to morality (e.g., integrity), were among the most important for a presidential candidate to possess, on 9-point Likert-type scales anchored with the phrases “Strongly disagree” and “Strongly agree.” All 10 traits were judged to be relatively important, but the degree of importance varied. A descriptive analysis revealed the following means: good judgment (8.18), knowledgeability (8.08), self-control (8.03), honorableness (7.97), integrity (7.85), ethicalness (7.78), intelligence (7.71), interpersonal skill (7.30), articulateness (7.00), and humility (6.98). Indices were also created by summing the ability traits ( = .86, mean = 38.28) and the morality traits ( = .82, mean = 38.70). Intrinsic religiosity was correlated with the morality index (r = .164, p = .012), and with two of the moral traits, humility (r = .195, p = .003) and honorableness (r = .136, p = .036). Intrinsic religiosity was not correlated with the ability index or any of the ability traits (all rs < .044, all ps > .50). Overall, both ability and morality were valued, as demonstrated by the means, but religious participants were more likely to value certain moral traits than were participants lower in religiosity.