Voters prefer beauty and competent looks in general, but they also use beauty as a cue for conservatism in low-information elections. Increased importance of television and the internet as well as increased political mobility of voters may have improved the electoral chances of the right.
Why? It gives us deeper insights about how political processes (and indeed human beings) work.
- Not everything in politics is about facts or values: people also matter. Not least their beauty.
- This enables us to ask: Is this a good or bad thing?
- Good: Cues may be good approximations of quality.
- Bad: May disfavor the competent and ugly and systematically favor one political side.
- Institutional implications:
- Electoral system: proportional vs. majoritarian.
- List system: candidate vs. party choice.
Beauty is a serious issue – but also an enjoyable one to study!