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Partyforumseasia:The success of Yingluck Shinawatra – the best looking prime minister world wide – in the Thai 2011 elections has given a pretty face to the relatively new research topic of how the looks of a candidate can influence voter preferences. It does not come totally as a surprise, though. The epic TV-debate between Nixon and Kennedy in 1960 should have given enough food for examination to the political scientists.
Nevertheless, many parties seem to still underestimate the magic of faces on TV and social media. But the old party apparatchik getting the candidacy after years of ground and backroom toil will certainly disappear.
See also: How Far can Yingluck’s ‘Beauty Premium’ Get Her? by by Pavin Chachavalpongpun, ISEAS, 5 August 2011
Here are some recent publications about the impact of (good) looks:
1. MIT researchers demonstrate how much candidate appearances affect election outcomes (people around the world have similar ideas about what a good politician looks like) Link: Massachusetts Institute of Technology 2010
2. Study shows that low-information voters are most likely to be swayed by candidates’ appearances. Link: Massachusetts Institute of Technology 2011