Friday, January 13, 2017

Conservative politicians are better-looking than liberal politicians

Conservative politicians are better looking than liberal politicians on average in the United States, Europe, and Australia—and that might create an overall advantage for conservative parties, according to a study published in the February issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of Public Economics.

The study goes on to suggest that the more attractive a politician is, the more likely voters across the political spectrum are to assume he or she is conservative, while the less attractive a politician is, the more likely voters are to assume he or she is liberal. ...

The study, titled The right look: Conservative politicians look better and voters reward it, goes on to argue that conservative politicians are not only considered more attractive on average, but also derive more benefit from that perception than liberal politicians who are similarly attractive. Specifically, the study found that attractive conservative politicians won more votes than attractive liberal politicians in elections when voters didn’t know much about the candidates.

It proposes that one potential explanation for why attractive conservative candidates win more votes is because conservative and liberal voters alike assume that more attractive candidates lean conservative. ...

They found that conservative politicians who were correctly guessed to be conservative were on average more attractive than conservative politicians that respondents did not correctly identify as conservative. ...

So why would conservative politicians be more attractive on average in the United States, Europe and Australia? The study offers a possible explanation, arguing that as a result of the monetary advantages and general privilege conferred by good looks, attractive people may be more likely to end up identifying as conservatives. According to the researchers:
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, and are happier, and a frequent reason for people to sympathize with the left is a perception of the world as unfair.
...the notion that attractive people gravitate towards conservatism seems to run counter to the liberal streak running through Hollywood.
--Clare Foran, The Atlantic, on Mitt Romney and Ronald Reagan