A Catwalk to Congress? Appearance-Based Effects in the Elections to the U.S. House of Representatives 2016

Published on 2019-09-18T12:08:46Z (GMT) by
<div><p>This article addresses the question of appearance-based effects by looking at the U.S. House of Representatives election 2016. We broaden the focus beyond existing studies by offering a comprehensive and systematic analysis of the three traits attractiveness, competence, and likability while simultaneously taking into account confounding third variables and possible interactions. Corresponding to the comparative character of electoral competition in the districts, we developed a relative measure of the three traits which we apply in an online survey. This measure also takes into account the raters’ latency times, that is, their clicking speed, as a weighting factor for their ambiguity in the ratings. With these data we test whether appearance matters for the electoral outcome. We find that attractiveness positively affects the vote share, whereas perceived likability and competence play no role. The study also tests to what extent the found appearance effects are conditioned by incumbency status, age, and gender of the contestants. Furthermore, it gives hints which aspects of their appearance candidates could change to perform better at the ballot box.</p></div>

Cite this collection

Jäckle, Sebastian; Metz, Thomas; Wenzelburger, Georg; König, Pascal D. (2019): A Catwalk to Congress? Appearance-Based Effects in the Elections to the U.S. House of Representatives 2016. SAGE Journals. Collection. https://doi.org/10.25384/SAGE.c.4669796.v1