That’s what this study shows. Actually, the study is pretty modest–not to mention Finnish. But the expert doesn’t hesitate to draw global implications from it.
One conclusion: The Left is more about reason, the Right about appearances. So it’s obvious that voters on the Right would care more about the candidate’s appearance. And some otherwise inexplicable victories of conservative candidates might be accounted for by voters being seduced by lookers like Palin or Sen. Brown (MA).
Another conclusion: Beautiful people tend not to be egalitarians. Nature, after all, has been better to them than most, and they want to be free to exploit their advantages. Government programs of redistribution are really affirmative action for the ugly. Well, to be more precise, for the ugly and stupid. But if appearance counts more than brains, than being ugly is more of a disadvantage than being stupid.
It’s difficult to deny the element of liberal/Left whining in those speculative riffs on the data: There couldn’t be any good reason why their guys (and psychologists and such, we’ve read time and again, are overwhelming on the liberal/Left) don’t always win.
Stuff to consider: The best looking major American political leader right now is our president–a Democrat. Nobody denies that the appearance gap is one reason among many he trounced the old and ugly McCain, and perhaps even the relatively old and “unhot” Hillary Clinton. The other “hot” president of my lifetime was the liberal JFK. Reagan, it’s true, was an actor and careful about his appearance. But he was also the oldest president ever. So, in the obvious (sexy) sense, he was not a particularly seductive candidate.
Other stuff: The people who care most about and are most careful with personal (physical) appearance–celebrities and especially actors–tend to vote overwhelmingly Democratic. Democratic voters (after all, they’re also disproportionally young voters and Wall Street/CEO types), a study might show, are better looking, as a whole, than Republican voters. It would be hard to deny the plausibility of the hypothesis that people who are that conscious of appearance might also tend to be seudced by it.
Increasingly, your average family guy or gal with lots of kids and little consciousness of personal appearance or even obsession with personal health votes Republican.
One more thing: It’s liberals who tend to hyper-personalize and even eroticize political leadership, especially the president. They connect magnetic personal attractiveness with change they can believe in–FDR’s New Deal, JFK’s New Frontier, etc. Remember TV’s The West Wing–the liberal political fantasy starring, as president, the seasoned but still magnetically attractive Martin Sheen. He looked so good (and so right) and struck such a perfect tone that you didn’t quite notice he wasn’t saying much of substance.
Calm down, liberals: This is meant largely in fun. I don’t take what studies show all that seriously.