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Donald Trump's looks might have made him president, professors suggest

"Basic" thinkers vote based on candidate attractiveness, one researcher wrote.
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Despite all his fame and fortune, Donald Trump's secret to political success might actually be his looks — or at least that's a conclusion drawn by two university professors.

Conservative voters in the U.S., Australia and Europe value good looks in political candidates more than their liberal counterparts, they posit.

The correlation between beauty and winning office in these countries is so connected with right-leaning ideals that liberal voters assume — often correctly — that attractive politicians must be conservative, a personality study by a Helsinki University professor found.

Donald Trump is a man known for, among other things, his comb over, orange-hued skin and what some have called tiny hands. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

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And for women, attractiveness goes more than just skin deep, evolutionary psychologist Todd Shackelford of Oakland University told Slate.

“I would be astounded if there weren’t large portions of the population, particularly the female population,” who see Trump as sexy, because “status, prestige, and resource acquisition are remarkably predictably linked to assessments by women of male attractiveness,” he said.

But why is attractiveness so much more common among conservative politicians? Could it be that those with right-leaning ideology are just better looking? Not likely, Jan-Erik Lönnqvist of Helsinki University said.

“The results suggest that the reason that politicians on the right are physically more attractive than politicians on the left is that the selection of electoral candidates is, on the political right, more dependent on candidate attractiveness, not that ideologically right-leaning people generally look better,” he wrote in his study, titled, “Just because you look good doesn’t mean you’re right.”

The study title works on multiple levels — Lönnqvist said his research supports conclusions that voters on the right are less politically sophisticated, thus more likely to steer their choices on looks. Another study, "The right look: Conservative politicians look better and voters reward it," published in the Journal of Public economics agrees.

“One reason that candidate appearance has a stronger influence on the right could be that voters who lack political knowledge or sophistication are more influenced by the attractiveness of the candidate. Conservative attitudes have been associated with, for instance, lower cognitive ability, simpler and more basic modes of thought and more concrete thinking,” he wrote.

 
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