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Swedes find right-wingers more 'attractive'

The Local/AFP · 24 Feb 2011, 09:32

Published: 24 Feb 2011 09:32 GMT+01:00

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The increasing prominence of open list electoral systems in Sweden and other countries, has lead to an increasing importance placed on personal qualities, the researchers argued.

"One possible explanation is that people who are seen or consider themselves beautiful tend to be more anti-egalitarian and right wing," Niclas Berggren, a researcher at independent research institute Ratio in Stockholm and one of the three co-authors of the study, told The Local.

The study compared election results from parliamentary and municipal elections held in Finland in 2003 and 2004 respectively with an online poll of Swedes, Americans and other non-Finns to determine how the 1,357 participating Finnish candidates ranked in terms of beauty.

More than 2,500 non-Finns were shown photographs of each candidate, with no indication of which side of the political spectrum they stood on, and were

asked to rank them on a scale from one (very ugly) to five (very beautiful).

"We have found that candidates on the right are considered to look better than those on the left. We have also found that they benefit from this in elections - you could say that there is a form of beauty premium," Bergren said.

Bergren told The Local that there are several studies identifying this phenomenon within the business world, with good looking people earning an average 15 percent more, and the researchers wanted to study if there is an equivalent within the political sphere.

In a 2006 paper entitled "The Looks of a Winner: Beauty, Gender and Electoral Success," Bergren, together with Henrik Jordahl at the Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Stockholm and Panu Poutvaara at the University of Helsinki and IZA Bonn, concluded that good looks are a key part of political success.

The trio's new preliminary study entitled, “The Right Look: Conservative Politicians Look Better and Their Voters Reward It” is argued to confirm that not only do looks matter, but they matter more for the right.

"I think the right has been more conscious of looks," he said, citing the examples of Ronald Reagan and Sarah Palin in the US.

Bergren argued that this development raises questions over the increasing importance of open lists in Swedish elections, arguing that it is fair to presume that Swedish politicians also benefit from their appearance.

Story continues below…

"The effects of beauty in western culture are universal. A stronger role for open list voting will mean an increase in the importance of beauty and the focus on personalities in politics."

"It is more Reinfeldt against Sahlin, than the issues," he argued.

The preliminary study, which was published by the German Institute for the

Study of Labour (IZA), has yet to appear in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

The Local/AFP (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:59 February 24, 2011 by HYBRED
This article for some reason reminds me of an old American saying; "You can candy-coat a poison pill, but it will still kill you".
11:07 February 24, 2011 by UScitizen
Or "You can dress a pig in a suit but you can't stop him from gruntin' "
11:35 February 24, 2011 by NoVaseline
Or "You elect a bad guy as Parliament Member, he will still do bad things and eventually harm you"
11:59 February 24, 2011 by eppie
But I think the people conducting this research are right. You know it, I know it, but a considerable percentage of voters makes a choice for this wrong reason....and that is sad.

A clearer example than Reagan is of course GW Bush. Al Gore was vastly superior in the brain department and he wasn't a drunk that let companies go bust, but still people voted for Bush. Of course his religious extremism was a major point here but for sure 15 % of his votes cam from people that just found Al Gore a weird looking guy that moves strange.
12:14 February 24, 2011 by otwa
racist swedish people
12:36 February 24, 2011 by UScitizen
I agree about Al Gore's superior brain. After all, he invented the internet and he was the first on to understand global warming and warn us about it. But if Bush got elected over Gore because of looks, how did Obama get elected with that cigarette hanging out of his mouth?

A better example of looks winning would be Kennedy over Nixon in 1960. I wouldn't have bought a used car from that man!
12:59 February 24, 2011 by TheOriginalBlackMan
Empty article. What if you think they look like trolls?
13:04 February 24, 2011 by eppie
@US citizen

Yeah, with Obama the difference was just too big. Against a guy who's only achievement was that he has been tortured in Vietnam and that woman who probably has never in her life been abroad and likely can't even name all the US states when you ask her.

ps you are one of those guys who only heard about global warming after Gore made his movie?
13:19 February 24, 2011 by zircon
No one in Sweden looks like Greta Garbo. In politics that would have made the difference. Cold, sophisticated and blonde.
13:37 February 24, 2011 by samwise
do right wingers exist in Finland?
13:40 February 24, 2011 by star10
@ UScitizen: Obama was in fact attractive to many voters. Remember he competed with Hillary and McCain who both are old and appeared less attractive (at least to many people's perception).
14:09 February 24, 2011 by calebian22
US citizen,

I understood your joke. Inventing the internet and the plight of the polar bears, lol.
14:23 February 24, 2011 by Syftfel
Not sure how this is relevant to the current issue at hand, i.e. the demise of socialism in Sweden and the celebration of freedom. Can we please get back to the important issues, such as how the social democrat policies has lead to the near destruction of once great nation, and how we can wipe up the sordid mess left behind by the party of Palme and its immigration fiasco.
14:53 February 24, 2011 by UScitizen

I haven't seen the movie or read the book. I'm just waiting for the sea level to rise 20 feet as Gore said it would. I guess a lot of Sweden will go under.

@ star10

since you mentioned Hillary...... well, I guess Obama was the lesser of two evils.

@ Syftfel

Ok, give us an answer, or some suggestions of what to do. I'd seriously like to know. Even though I'm not a Swedish citizen and can't vote, I'm here for another 18 months before I move back to America.

Back in 2008 I jokingly said that if Obama got elected I'd leave the country. I moved to Sweden Dec 31, 2008, before he was sworn in in January. I'm going back to America in August, 2012, hopefully to help with a real change in the presidency, not another four years. so give me some suggestions for Sweden that I might be able to use in the US.
15:10 February 24, 2011 by planet.sweden
Sweden is a thoroughly looks, gloss and money obsessed society.

Adept engineers they may be but the country remains intellectually and culturally bankrupt, with a streak of stiffling conformity running through its heart.

Picking politicians on the basis of looks alone is simply a continuation of the way in which Swedes pick their employees, their news readers, their friends, partners, dentist, Hell even their nanny (Elin Nordgren was chosen by a Swedish golfers wife for a job in the US after she spotted Nordgren working in a shop - well what other reference would she need?). As with everything in Sweden, it's looks first, talent second.

Vacuous in the extreme. Stockholm is a sort of LA of the Baltic, with a touch of Nordic racial theory thrown in for good measure.

Regarding leaders, this is one area at least where we can look up to the French, who religiously seem to pick their leaders on the basis of perceived intellectual stature, rather than anything else. That doesn't mean their perceptions are always right of course, but 10/10 for effort.
15:26 February 24, 2011 by buschmann
Good lookers have an advantage. Wow , I never knew that!
15:34 February 24, 2011 by Swedesmith
A modern day Lincoln just wouldn't have a chance, would he?
15:38 February 24, 2011 by calebian22
Lincoln was a hottie!
15:59 February 24, 2011 by UScitizen
It's all about looks, huh? That explains why I never got into politics.
16:00 February 24, 2011 by TheOriginalBlackMan
I guess beuaty is truly in the eye beholder since I have lived in Sweden for over 2 years and can state without a doubt that as a European group the Swedes are not attractive.

It may have something to do with the years of isolation from an deleterious gene pool that they are starting from, howvwer, the only thing that Swedes, or as matter of fact all Scandinavian countries seem to be really good at is projecting.

Since when did when people who turn 30 and look 50 were deemed attractive?

As for Obama, he had the women swarming over him during the election, all the women. You know what women want; Tall, Dark, and handsome.
16:07 February 24, 2011 by buschmann
@ TheOriginalBlackMan. I have never been to Sweden, but I can say that in minnesota we have a nearly unlimited number of beautiful scandinavian type women that are over the age of 30.
16:41 February 24, 2011 by Syftfel
@TheOriginalBlackman, You're right. Barack is a handsome fellow, is charming, and speaks well. Shame about his politics though. He's a union supporting, unforgiving, unadulterated marxist, streetcorner leafleteer who erroneously ended up in the WH. He is totally inept and should never have been permitted within ten miles of the WH. Something which the US will live to regret. Our country would have been better off had he stayed on the Southside handing out fliers. He has made even George Bush seem like a major statesman. Hence Barrack's good looks wont help much there. See you at the polls in 2012.
16:49 February 24, 2011 by UScitizen
@ TheOriginalBlackMan

"It may have something to do with the years of isolation"..... So, is the problem inbreeding, like with the wolves?

Funny, they want to import wolves to stop inbreeding but not import immigrants to stop inbreeding.
16:49 February 24, 2011 by Great Scott
The people in the picture are NOT Swedish.

Swedish people are good looking.
17:07 February 24, 2011 by TheOriginalBlackMan

I am not a fan of President Obama (he has forgotten his African constituents); however, he can do little other than put a good spin on the trajectory that the United States is heading; the emergence and acceptance of corporatism is the country's real problem.

As for President Obama, he is guaranteed a term in 2012 as Juan Williams said " There is nobody in the Republican party that has the charisma or can command the stage like Obama There's nobody out there, except for Sarah Palin, who can absolutely dominate the stage, and she can't stand on the intellectual stage with Obama,"

As they say in New York, "it's a rap".
19:35 February 24, 2011 by technoviking
@ OriginalBlackMan or MREAM or Melanin rules everything around me.

Don't worry you aren't inferior because you are black.

Black people AND white people can both be attractive.

You can stop overcompensating and trying so hard to put down white people...
21:12 February 24, 2011 by vb74

I was about to say the same thing , I don't know what happened to this guy but he has a massive insecurity complex.

And as far as Obama goes his appearance did play a part in winning. It was because he is black which is the same reason why he won the noble prize after only three months in office ,everybody knows is a joke.
21:17 February 24, 2011 by zircon
But I would marry only my own. And God, she definitely has to be a virgin as well as good looking (proper stock). For a thousand years at least.
22:15 February 24, 2011 by Swedesmith
Marrying your own, isn't that incest?
00:57 February 25, 2011 by philster61
More confirmation that Swedes are continually losing their minds
07:11 February 25, 2011 by NotACommie
It has been said that "politics is hollywood for the ugly" and anyone who has seen Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank, Henry Waxman knows that. So not only will the socialist in Europe and America cause their countries to go broke and be under Sharia law but it will be done by stupid ugly people. Just the way the original ugly man the devil intended it.

"I agree about Al Gore's superior brain. After all, he invented the internet and he was the first on to understand global warming and warn us about it. But if Bush got elected over Gore because of looks, how did Obama get elected with that cigarette hanging out of his mouth?" ----- BAHAHAHAHAH, seriously? You think Gore invented the internet. BAHAHA wow not only are liberals ugly their dumb as a rock. No wonder he's made 100 million dollars off the global warming scam. He's got sheepel like you lapping it up without question.
09:34 February 25, 2011 by technoviking
@ NotACommie

You're not a very bright one are you?

The Al Gore "invented the internet" thing is a joke that conservatives make to MAKE FUN of Al Gore based on a quote he said along those line, though it's a misquote, but became a running joke anyway.

That comment you quoted was by a conservative being SARCASTIC. A conservative who's obviously more clever and informed than you.

I flirt with going right wing because of immigration, but then I'm reminded how stupid you all are by comments like this and can't get myself to do it.
14:15 February 25, 2011 by AFan
@eppie ,

I'd like to see Obama name all 57 states.
15:26 February 25, 2011 by buschmann
States 51-57, Canada, sweden, norway, denmark, israel, germany, england.
18:22 February 25, 2011 by nolikegohome
money = good life = good health = happiness = peace of mind = long life (not that important)

what more do you want?
18:45 February 25, 2011 by imnokuffar
I suppose from the comments here that i am a Fascist and a Nazi .

I will tell you what go and visit Malmo where the Jews are fleeing. Visit Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield or London to see just what Multiculturalism and moral relativism have done to those cities.

Then comment.

There is no hope for people of your sunny disposition because you cannot and will not face the truth, Multiculturalism is a lie, built on foundation of hypocrisy and self loathing.

Enoch Powell was right !
21:24 February 25, 2011 by wxman
Some people enjoy living in their dillusions, and the facts be damned. Al Gore superior intellect?? He flunked divinity school for Christ's sake (pun intended) at some know-nothing Tennessee college. Come on, how hard can religion school be? Whereas Bush has a Baccalaureate from Yale and a Master's from Harvard. Try again.
21:56 February 25, 2011 by buschmann
I think Sarah P. and Michelle Bauchman are kinda cute.
22:07 February 25, 2011 by technoviking

Dude, seriously? Are you kidding?

Al Gore went to Harvard.

Are all American Republicans completely retarded and incapable of simple fact checking as you appear to be?

You are legitimately the STUPIDEST most ignorant demographic in Western society. And I'm not a "lefty". You just really are that dumb that it can't be ignored.

Since you spelled delusions "dillusions" I'm assuming you were serious.

Go back to your pig farm and leave the politics to the grown ups.
13:33 February 26, 2011 by calebian22

Yes, Al Gore did go to Harvard and graduated. He also is a dropout from Vanderbuilt Divinity School. Before you rant about fact checking, you should check your own. It would have been a good rant, if you had been right though.
04:49 February 28, 2011 by technoviking
@ calebian

I'm aware... but the implication above is that Gore is an idiot dropout WHEREAS Bush has degrees. Totally omitting the fact that Gore graduated cum laude from Harvard.

This is the typical sort of Republican, omission/misrepresentation/outright lie that they spread from idiot to idiot on the internet.

The people who start them are aware of the deceit and then retards like this go out an spread them.
01:55 March 4, 2011 by marcelj
See the dvd called the "obama deception" very interesting indeed. An eye opener to say the least. Swedes are the most beautiful people in the world. And we shall remain so, by keeping the black people from inbreeding with us in order for them to dilute their ugly features. This goes for the ugly browns too. Long live beauty and long live sweden.
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