Looks matter in politics (like the rest of life)

In an interesting, but not particularly surprising finding, more attractive political candidates fare a lot better than less attractive candidates:

New research from MIT political scientists shows that the appearances of politicians do indeed strongly influence voters — and that people around the world have similar ideas about what a good politician looks like. While few political observers would be surprised to learn that good looks earn votes, the MIT researchers have quantified a phenomenon that is more often assumed to be true than rigorously measured.

And, wow, there’s some shocking news, people from different countries actually seem to have similar ideas on human attractiveness.  Imagine the Miss Universe pageant if we didn’t.

“We were a little shocked that people in the United States and India so easily predicted the outcomes of elections in Mexico and Brazil based only on brief exposure to the candidates’ faces,” says Lenz. “These are all different cultures, with different political traditions and different histories.”

If they’re so shocked, perhaps they should have done a little bit more research on human perceptions of attractiveness before they did their study.   Looks matter.  People prefer good-looking people regardless of the “political traditions and different histories” of their countries.  It’s not rocket science.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

One Response to Looks matter in politics (like the rest of life)

  1. LOUDelf says:

    Looks definitely seem to matter to the general public for politics and other areas. To sidetrack a bit, how many times have you seen murder cases or missing persons reports that make the news, and you wonder “why did they have to go 3 states away, when I’m sure we had those crimes much closer?” The victims were better looking. Most people see the news, and say “what a shame” thinking he/she had so much going for them, yet the ugly(er) person didn’t?

    Back to your point: People are far more interested in attractive people than ugly ones, for sure. Without scientific study, let’s look at some of the most talked about politicians of the last year: Palin, Obama, Brown, etc. Bottom line, people think with the wrong parts of their body when choosing who they vote for. Now that’s an ugly thought!

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