Yes, you’re reading the headline right.
A study has taken a deeper look into the voting patterns of recent elections in the US, Europe and Australia and uncovered something few of us may have realised – that how a politician looks physically, influences the way we vote.
That’s right, the more beautiful a politician is, the more likely we are to vote for them – so the study says!
Published in the Journal of Public Economics, the study concluded that in elections with “low information”, physical attractiveness could be a deciding factor when we cast our votes.
And apparently, it’s conservative politicians or those on the right that are more physically attractive.
“Since good-looking politicians win more votes, a beauty advantage for politicians on the left or on the right is bound to have political consequences,” the study concludes.
“We show that politicians on the right look more beautiful in Europe, the United States and Australia. Our explanation is that beautiful people earn more, which makes them less inclined to support redistribution.
“Our model of within-party competition predicts that voters use beauty as a cue for conservatism when they do not know much about candidates and that politicians on the right benefit more from beauty in low-information elections.”
But are we really that shallow?
The study references another study from 2009, which had similar findings.
“Using raters chosen to be representative of the electorate, we assess the beauty of political candidates from major political parties, and then estimate the effect of beauty on voteshare for candidates in the 2004 federal election,” the 2009 study concluded.
“Beautiful candidates are indeed more likely to be elected, with a one standard deviation increase in beauty associated with a 1 1/2 – 2 percentage point increase in voteshare.
“The marginal effect of beauty is larger for male candidates than for female candidates, and appears to be approximately linear. Consistent with the theory that returns to beauty reflect discrimination, we find suggestive evidence that beauty matters more in electorates with a higher share of apathetic voters.”