We've all thought it, and now the social science is backing it up. Conservative men and women are hotter than liberals, finds a new study published by Cambridge University Press.
Researchers Rolfe Daus Peterson of Susquehanna University and Carl L. Palmer of Illinois State University examined the connection between attractiveness and political beliefs while controlling for socioeconomic status. They concluded that men and women with greater physical attractiveness and political efficacy tend to identify as conservative and/or Republican.
"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," found the researchers.
Peterson and Palmer said they "took advantage" of two datasets in particular to examine physical attractiveness in relation to political views: the 1972–74–76 American National Election Studies (ANES) panel and the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (WLS).
"If physical appearance affects how we interact with others and our political beliefs emerge as a by-product of our early life experiences, it stands to reason that appearance would also influence the development of individual political beliefs," says the article.
The scholars partly attributed this to what's known as the "halo effect," a "cognitive bias in which our overall impression of a person influences how we feel and think about his or her character."
"In a sense, attractive individuals have a blind spot that leads them to not see the need for more government support or aid in society," they theorized, in a blatantly leftward biased manner. "Given that this is one of the tenets of more liberal citizens, as well as supporters of the Democratic Party, we would expect that more attractive individuals would develop a worldview that is less supportive of government intervention and aid to others."
Our politicians are hotter, too. As The Atlantic noted earlier this month, a study published in peer-reviewed Journal of Public Economics found that conservative politicians in the U.S., Europe, and Australia tend to be more attractive than their liberal counterparts on average.
This study revealed that both conservative and liberal voters, on some level, tend to equate attractiveness with conservatism. "It proposes that one potential explanation for why attractive conservative candidates win more votes is because conservative and liberal voters alike assume that more attractive candidates lean conservative," says The Atlantic. "As a result, attractive conservative candidates might receive an added boost by winning votes from conservative voters who believe the candidate is more likely to stand up for conservative values, while some liberal voters might be less inclined to vote for attractive liberal candidates since they may assume the candidates are conservative or at least lean that way in terms of ideological preference."
Moreover, a 2012 study from the University of California at Los Angeles found female conservative politicians to be prettier than their liberal counterparts. "Female politicians with stereotypically feminine facial features are more likely to be Republican than Democrat," said psychologist Colleen Carpinella, the lead author of the study.
Ardent liberal and extreme feminist Lindy West agreed with the findings, but explained that conservative women "read 'pretty'" because they have it easier in life.
"So is it any surprise that Republican women tend to read 'pretty?'" she wrote. "It's a much tougher path for the women who don't."