Study: Voters Make Choices Based On Looks

It turns out looks matter quite a bit when it comes to politics. Researchers from the universities of Kent and Exeter asked 138 local politicians (councillors) in the UK to rate their own personality, and then asked 755 of their colleagues to anonymously rate their performance in the office. The researchers also showed 526 participants from around the world photos of the councillors and asked them to rate what they thought their personalities would be like. Then researchers compared these results against the politicians’ share of the vote in the local authority re-elections, and their performance in office. They found voters were more likely to choose the politicians who they thought looked competent, however those individuals were not judged by their colleagues as any more effective while in office. Study co-author Dr. Madeleine Wyatt adds, “We found that voters are not necessarily able to see what politicians are required to do in their day-to-day work and therefore have to rely on characteristics that might seem to matter for leadership, but may not actually be that important.”