As part of a recent survey in Nevada, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, Change Research and Future Majority asked 3,261 voters about their experience with people who exhibit traits and behaviors broadly associated with narcissism. We wanted to test if a relationship existed between people’s reported experiences within their interpersonal relationships and their views of politicians, particularly former President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Overall, women report having more experience with people that exhibit traits commonly associated with narcissism than men, and among women, those who report having the most experience with individuals with these traits are more unfavorable to Trump and DeSantis than those with less experience.
Majorities of men and women report that they know someone in their life who blames other people for their mistakes, never takes responsibility for their actions, and gets angry quickly. More women than men report that they know someone unable to understand what they are feeling. People report the least experience with people who believe they are the best, believe everything belongs to them, and are preoccupied with their physical appearance.
Democratic and independent women are more likely to report having experiences with people who exhibit traits commonly associated with narcissism than Republican women. No such partisan differences exist among men.
In counting up the number of traits people report that they have experience with, more women than men say they know people who exhibit six or more. Among women, Democrats and independents are more likely to report having experience with individuals with six or more of these traits than Republicans.
The more a woman reports having experience with individuals with traits commonly associated with narcissism, the more likely they are to hold unfavorable views of Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis. This can be partially explained by the fact that Democratic and Independent women report having experience with more of these traits than Republican women.
However, In the case of Donald Trump, the experience level with narcissism predicts unfavorable opinion even after controlling for party identification. In other words: a woman’s reported level of experience with people with traits commonly associated with narcissism is a predictor that they will hold unfavorable opinions of Donald Trump, and this relationship reflects more than just their party affiliation.
This same relationship does not exist yet for Ron DeSantis at a statistically significant level.
This is just a preliminary look at the ways in which people’s reported experiences in their day-to-day lives may impact their opinions toward political leaders. In this instance, among women, we do see a relationship between their reported experience with traits commonly associated with narcissism, their political views, and their opinion of Donald Trump. We plan to delve deeper into this to have a finer understanding of the dynamics of this presidential race in ways that haven’t been previously explored in public polling data.
Polling was conducted online from February 25-March 1, 2023. Using its Dynamic Online Sampling process, Change Research polled 4,356 voters in Nevada, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, 3,261 of whom answered questions related to this analysis. Post-stratification weights were made on age, gender, education, race, region, and 2020 presidential vote to reflect the distribution of voters. The overall margin of error is 1.5 percentage points.