Reveals the power of beauty at the ballot box FOUND THE POLLIES?
mer, from the University of Ottawa, collected data on the physical attractiveness of candidates running for the US House of Representatives in the 2008 election.
The pair then used the data to build the face of “ideal candidates” in terms of physical attractiveness and model the electoral effect of that attractiveness on electoral margins.
These results were then assessed against marginal seats to determine whether candidate attractiveness could sway electoral outcomes.
The results found 62 per cent of marginal races would have resulted in the defeat of the candidate who won the seat if the opposing candidate looked like the researchers’ “ideal candidate” and was otherwise identical to the actual defeated candidate.
Dr Praino said the research provided the very rare opportunity to have a tangible idea of what is a “good-looking” candidate.
“Our ideal candidates – that is the ‘young male’ and the ‘middle-aged female’ – are ranked very high in attractiveness and we think they do represent some kind of ideal look, in terms of how to maximise votes based on physical appearance,” he said.
“The research suggests that unattractive candidates may have a tougher time getting votes but there is a clear way to counteract this impact by informing and educating voters.
“In fact, this is the most important side of this research. “Now that we begin to know and understand the impact of the physical appearance of candidates on electoral success and the mechanism behind this relationship, it is possible to think about strategies on how to ‘correct’ this issue.”
Dr Praino said that, for voters, it was important to note physical attractiveness has no policy content at all.
“A voter who is seduced by the physical appearance of a candidate may end up making a choice that is against his or her interests and preferences in terms of public policy,” he said.
“This simply should not happen but unfortunately it currently does.”
Deputy Labor Leader Tanya Plibersek, who could fit the attributes of the ”Middle-aged female.”