Political Science, Department of


Date of this Version

Spring 2012

Document Type



A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: Political Science, Under the Supervision of Professor John R. Hibbing. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2012

Copyright 2012 Timothy Collins


Do voters prefer political candidates who express reluctance to seek office, or do voters prefer candidates who express great ambition and an implicit hunger for power? This study uses an experimental design to test overall support of reluctant or power-hungry candidates, and discusses which people would select which candidate and why. While limited by the survey design, the evidence suggests that there is no significant overall mean difference for overall support of either candidate. However, personality traits and the degree to which participants perceived certain descriptive attributes of the candidates both play a role in vote likelihood and candidate favorability for each of the two candidates. Most importantly, when participants perceived power hunger in a candidate, that candidate was avoided, which supports previous research.

Adviser: John R. Hibbing