2021-09-21Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.18452/26355
Can a beautiful smile win the vote?
The role of candidates’ physical attractiveness and facial expressions in elections
Several empirical studies have linked political candidates’ electoral success to their physical appearance. We reexamine the effects of candidates’ physical attractiveness by taking into account emotional facial expressions as measured by automated facial recognition software. The analysis is based on an observational case study of candidate characteristics in the 2017 German federal election. Using hierarchical regression modeling and controlling for candidates’ displays of happiness, consistent effects of physical attractiveness remain. The results suggest that a potential interaction effect between displays of happiness and attractiveness positively affects vote shares. The study emphasizes the importance of considering emotional expressions when analyzing the impact of candidate appearance on electoral outcomes.
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