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Effects of physical attractiveness on political beliefs

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 December 2017

Rolfe Daus Peterson*
Susquehanna University
Carl L. Palmer
Illinois State University
Correspondence: Rolfe Daus Peterson, Department of Political Science, Susquehanna University, 514 University Avenue, Selinsgrove, PA, 17870. Email:
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Physical attractiveness is an important social factor in our daily interactions. Scholars in social psychology provide evidence that attractiveness stereotypes and the “halo effect” are prominent in affecting the traits we attribute to others. However, the interest in attractiveness has not directly filtered down to questions of political behavior beyond candidates and elites. Utilizing measures of attractiveness across multiple surveys, we examine the relationship between attractiveness and political beliefs. Controlling for socioeconomic status, we find that more attractive individuals are more likely to report higher levels of political efficacy, identify as conservative, and identify as Republican. These findings suggest an additional mechanism for political socialization that has further implications for understanding how the body intertwines with the social nature of politics.

© Association for Politics and the Life Sciences 2017 

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