May 18, 2024

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Elections: Does the appearance of candidates matter at the polls? … Unfortunately yes

Elections: Does the appearance of candidates matter at the polls?  … Unfortunately yes

For decades, political scientists have attempted to “fit” the preferences and behaviors of voters into a classification, adopting definitions such as emotional party identification, rational voting, psychological voting, and so on. Now, “visual voting” seems to be invading politics, too.

Three researchers Niklas Berggren, Henrik Jordal and Bano Butvara with two of their publications”Appearance of the winner: beauty and electoral success” And “The right view: Conservative politicians look better and are rewarded by their voters »argued that not only does beauty increase a candidate’s chances of being elected, but good-looking politicians are found in conservative parties in Europe, the United States and Australia.

Tell us who you would like to predict the outcome of

In particular, the three scientists did the following: They showed photographs of 1,900 Finnish candidates to people who did not live in Finland. Thus, the risk of respondents’ assessments of the candidate’s beauty being influenced by the candidate’s political views as simply being irrelevant to Finnish politics was avoided.

They were then asked to rate how handsome the candidates were (eg, very handsome, average, not very attractive, etc.) and immediately linked those answers to the election results.

Good-looking candidates have an electoral advantage, and this applies to both women and men. This relationship is also true of education or professions. Indeed, facial features predict success in politics, business and the military, according to Pano Butvara.

Researchers say the finding that image-based assessments help predict election outcomes has been confirmed in Australia, Brazil, Mexico, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Switzerland, Britain and the United States.

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Conservatives are nicer

One major finding is that conservative politicians are more presentable and voters reward that. But how did the researchers conclude that beauty is found more on the right side of the political spectrum?

They take it for granted – based on previous studies – that good-looking people make more money and therefore have less to gain and more to lose from wealth redistribution, which is very unpopular on the conservative agenda. People with higher lifetime incomes are less likely to support redistribution.

Therefore, Niklas Berggren, Henrik Jordal and Banu Butvara conclude that people who are good-looking are more likely to support political parties that espouse economic conservatism, showing that while good-looking people are treated better, they are more likely to view the world as ” Just “place” thus embracing conservative values ​​and rejecting requests for change.

On the contrary, left-wing parties seek changes because they are not satisfied with the status quo. However, poor Morales who tried to lean on the left-wing Miss Bolivia 2007, Jessica Jordan, it didn’t work out for him because people didn’t favor her.

Consul General of Bolivia in New York Jessica Jordan, former Miss Universe.

The damage was done by ignorance

One major finding is that candidates’ physical appearance plays the biggest role in … uninformed voters. When there are many, the beauty premium is greater for good-looking candidates because uninformed conservative voters value beauty for its own sake and as a sign of conservatism.

If voters are then informed, according to the research, the role of appearance will be reduced, which the researchers hope will immediately lead to better policies.

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Some voters may also get satisfaction from supporting good-looking candidates or watching them later on TV. If the media tends to call politicians good-looking, they have an advantage in getting their message across, attracting even voters who couldn’t care less about beauty.

A previous US study found that the positive relationship between votes and attractiveness is stronger among voters with limited political knowledge and those who watch a lot of television.

Voters often use beauty as a “signal” for candidates’ ideology, while non-traditional right-wing candidates benefit more from their beauty when citizens are uninformed.

In politics, outward appearance should not matter

The researchers draw attention to the consequences of such a “visual” criterion. If the election outcome is judged by little difference, according to the research, beauty can have significant economic consequences by favoring the right’s favored policies on taxes, pensions, and public goods provision over the left’s often highly divergent policies.

This is why “research on various behavioral biases can help people overcome them,” say the three scientists, themselves hoping “that voters will take a moment to reflect on their sensitivity to appearance (as well as easy speech) and whether this might lead them to ignore norms.” most important when making their choices.

“When alternative facts (falsehoods presented in a way that appears to conform to reality) and gray eyes threaten to undermine even well-established democracies, the idea of ​​encouraging informed debate based on factual facts far outweighs the implications for the role of beauty in politics,” the researchers concluded.

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