Opinions on President Donald Trump run strong, to say the least. Whether you believe he will make America great again or single-handedly destroy it, there’s one aspect of Trump everyone can agree on – he knows how to dominate the news.
The days are few and far between that the top political news doesn’t revolve around Trump. He hasn’t been shy about denouncing his opponents, publicizing his successes, and hosting endless campaign rallies. Are Trump’s efforts simply honest attempts to advance his agenda? Or are they a reflection of his personal ego?
Hogan researchers have developed a new assessment we plan on making available soon — the Hogan Humility Scale. It measures how well people spotlight others’ contributions, admit mistakes, show openness to feedback, see themselves as no better than others, and refrain from boasting and arrogant behaviors. We figured a fun way to put the Humility Scale through its paces would be for people to rate their own humility and Trump’s humility, then compare the two.
For this study we collected ratings anonymously from 229 individuals – 102 that identified as Democrats, 46 as Republicans, 76 as Independents and five that chose “other” via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. Though we asked them to rate Trump’s humility in October, they used our assessments in the late spring to determine their individual Humility scores.
When we put together this study, we expected Republicans to report similar levels of humility between themselves and Trump due to high identification with the Republican party and Trump himself. Conversely, we expected Democrats to dissociate themselves from Trump as much as possible and report a wide gap between their own humility and Trump’s humility.
But that’s not quite what happened. On average, all our participants rated Trump’s humility at 13 out of a possible 60, which was quite low. While Democrats rated Trump even lower with an average humility score of 9, Republicans only gave Trump an average humility score of 21. Compared to typical U.S. participants completing our Hogan Humility Scale, both Democrat and Republican ratings of Trump’s humility landed at the 0th percentile. In other words, almost no one taking our assessments ever obtains humility scores this low. Although Republicans rated Trump as more humble than Democrats did, virtually everyone in our sample agreed that humility is not Trump’s forte.
We know from past research that humility is an important predictor of performance, so we also asked participants if they approved of Trump’s performance, and if they would vote for Trump if the election were tomorrow. We found that Perceived Trump Humility was strongly and positively related to both. In other words, those who thought Trump was higher on humility tended to rate Trump as more effective in office and were more likely to vote for his reelection. Likewise, those who thought Trump was less humble tended to provide lower ratings of his performance and fewer intentions to vote for him.
Next, we examined Republicans’ and Democrats’ own humility levels. We originally expected Republicans to align themselves closer to Trump and place less importance on humility. Instead, both Republicans and Democrats averaged humility scores of 41, which was at the 56th percentile — close to the average score for everyone who has ever taken the Humility assessment. Despite the vast political divide between the parties on individual issues, Democrats and Republicans both saw themselves as moderate regarding humility, and both parties’ humility ratings were significantly higher than Trump’s.
The huge gap between Trump’s humility and personal humility in the study was striking, especially for Republicans. Even with their low perception of Trump’s humility, almost three-quarters of them plan to vote for Trump again. It is possible that Republicans hold Trump to a different standard than they see themselves, or simply view him as the best available option due to party loyalty or specific political issues.
Whatever the reason, our study showed strong differences between Democrats and Republicans in their perception of Trump. But even though the heated political wars that play out on cable news make hope for common ground feel slight, the two sides at least have their own humility in common.