STOCKHOLM, Sweden — If looks have anything to say about elections, then Republicans have reason to celebrate. Research shows that conservative politicians aren’t just better looking in the United States, but also in Europe and Australia.
The study out of the Research Institute of Industrial Economics, points to prior studies showing that most attractive politicians win more votes in elections. But those studies don’t specify who tends to be most attractive. So scientists had participants look at photos of politicians and rank them on a scale of 1 to 5.
The photos included U.S. candidates running for governor and Senate, members of the European Parliament, and candidates for Australia’s House of Representatives.
In all three cases, the conservatives politicians were rated the highest.
From the study:
A simple economic explanation of the appearance gap in favor of the right is that beautiful people earn more money, and the more people earn, the more they are inclined to oppose redistribution and, arguably, to support, get active in and represent parties to the right. A more general psychological explanation could be that good-looking people are more likely to perceive the world as a just place, since they are treated better than others, achieve higher status and are happier – and a frequent reason for people to sympathize with the left is a perception of the world as unfair. In line with this, it has been found that greater self-reported attractiveness is negatively related to a preference for egalitarianism, typically associated with the left: The more beautiful people consider themselves, the less they are in favor of redistribution.
Researchers determined the results didn’t hold up when voters were well-educated on the positions and backgrounds of the candidates. Lower-level races where the candidates don’t see a lot of media coverage were more likely to fall in line with the alleged beauty bias.
The study is published in the Journal of Public Economics.