Education, tax reform, national security—whichever issue blows your hair back, you’re likely swayed by one that you don’t even realize. Your politician’s looks!
A new study published in Political Communication reports that the better looking a Congressperson is, the more television coverage he or she receives in result.
The study asked over 400 students to play “hot or not” with members of the 110th U.S. Congress based on their official government photos, and then measured those responses against media coverage.
The big reveal: For every point on the “physical attractiveness index” (a 1-10 scale), TV exposure jumped by 11.6 percent. Physical appearance weighed in as the third strongest predictor of media coverage, trailing just behind congressional activity and state size.
Yikes—how’s that for a campaign strategy?
The researchers listed three possible reasons for this phenomenon: Viewers want to watch attractive people (yes), good looks suggest respectability (hmm, maybe), and good looks heighten self-confidence and desire for media-activity (OK, makes sense).
Either way, it seems good looks can’t hurt in the game of politics—these days we can’t help but picture a mega-watt smile and perfectly coiffed locks when we hear the word “politician.”
(Poor Honest Abe wouldn’t have stood a chance today.)
Just look at Mitt Romney’s entrancing ‘do, which inspired a media frenzy all its own! His hairstylist, Leon deMagistris, says it’s all part of his carefully-crafted image: “Mitt Romney’s hair makes him so alluring to viewers, because he takes care of himself. He is a handsome man, with a great haircut, and his image fits his personality.”
The question is, what will these polished politicos do with all this coveted face time? Surely there’s more to [politics] than being ridiculously, ridiculously good looking … ah well, until then, at least we have some attractive faces to watch. Happy voting!