A new study in the journal Politics and the Life Sciences, published by Cambridge University Press, finds that conservative men and women tend to be physically more attractive than their political opponents.
Utilizing measures of attractiveness across multiple surveys, the researchers, Rolfe Daus Peterson of Susquehanna University and Carl L. Palmer of Illinois State University, examined the relationship between attractiveness and political beliefs.
While controlling for socioeconomic status, the researchers found that more attractive people were not only likely to report greater efficacy in terms of politics, but they also tended to identify as either conservatives or Republicans.
“We find that attractive individuals are more likely to identify with the Republican Party and more likely to be conservative,” the researchers concluded.
“Physical attractiveness is an important social factor in our daily interactions. Scholars in social psychology provide evidence that attractiveness stereotypes and the ‘halo effect’ are prominent in affecting the traits we attribute to others. However, the interest in attractiveness has not directly filtered down to questions of political behavior beyond candidates and elites,” the abstract reads.
The researchers took advantage of two unique datasets, the 1972-74-76 American National Elections Studies and the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study. In the former, their measure of attractiveness was taken from an interviewer’s subjective rating following the completion of an interview and made on a 5-point scale.
Because more attractive people tend to be Republican and more politically efficacious, the researchers questioned whether this might relate to electoral advantages.
Other recent research, the study says, suggests right-leaning candidates in the U.S. and Europe are on average much better looking than their lefty opponents.
“At the mass level, if attractive individuals are more likely to be conservative and to be more politically efficacious, the result could be an advantage at the ballot box, particularly if there are differential participation rates,” the study says.
Find the full study here.
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