A strange new study publicized in today’s New York Daily News claims that when it comes to male politicians, voters prefer candidates with a little meat on their bones. Female politicos, not so much.
“A candidate’s physical appearance plays a greater role in evaluation than we have thought in the past,” said Dr. Elizabeth Miller,” a political scientist at the University of Missouri and co-author of the study. “We assume voters only pay attention to things like issue position, but to think that they don’t pay attention to physical appearance is a bit naive.” [snip] In her study, Miller split 120 volunteers into four groups. Each group was presented with descriptions and photos of four separate phony candidates who had the same gender and body type: obese male, skinny male, obese female, skinny female. Within each group, each phony candidate’s political views differed. The study subjects then rated the candidates based on a series of criteria, including honesty and ability to perform. The obese males were viewed 6% more positively than skinny males, while skinny women were viewed 5% more positively than their full-figured counterparts. Overall, obese females were viewed 10% less favorably than obese males.
The percentages don’t seem that dramatic, but I guess maybe this might be something to consider when election margins are so often very close. After all, portly NJ Gov. Chris Christie only beat incumbent Jon Corzine by about 4 points. But even this researcher cautioned against giving her findings “too much weight.” Snork.