Openness as an electoral predictor?

A new study in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science rates the personality traits of all 50 states.

According to a WSJ article about the study:

Even after controlling for variables such as race, income and education levels, a state’s dominant personality turns out to be strongly linked to certain outcomes. Amiable states, like Minnesota, tend to be lower in crime. Dutiful states — an eclectic bunch that includes New Mexico, North Carolina and Utah — produce a disproportionate share of mathematicians. States that rank high in openness to new ideas are quite creative, as measured by per-capita patent production. But they’re also high-crime and a bit aloof.

Of course, there is still debate about what comes first — the personality of those who settle a region who then influence the cultural mores of a place — or if geography (and weather) itself impact the personalities of those who live there.

One interesting nugget about the interactive map showing the personalities of the states? The map for openness typically follows the Red State/Blue State divide, with Democratic states showing more openness. (In the study, openness correlates to creativity and new ideas.) But three of this year’s swing states — Nevada (9), Colorado (8) and Virginia (11) — made the top 11 of most open states. Could this signal a shift in Nevada’s political swing? (Rounding out the top 10 most open states, in order: Washington DC, New York, Oregon, Massachusetts, Washington, California, Vermont and Maryland.)

On other study measures, Nevada was 42nd most neurotic, 24th most conscientious, 48th agreeable and 37th most extroverted.

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