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Mon Apr 8, 2013, 03:18 PM

Coverage Of Women Candidates’ Appearance Hurts Their Electability, Study Finds

Source: TPM

PEMA LEVY APRIL 8, 2013, 1:18 PM 1169
A number of unlikely sources defended President Obama last week when he called California Attorney General Kamala Harris “the best looking attorney general” and was later forced to apologize for it. His defenders mostly sang a common refrain: What’s the harm in complimenting a woman’s appearance?

As if on cue, a study released Monday showed that media coverage of a woman candidate’s appearance actually makes people less likely to vote for her — even if the comments are positive.

“Women candidates pay a real price when they are covered in a way that focuses on their appearance,” Democratic pollster Celinda Lake of Lake Research Partners, which conducted the survey along with Chesapeake Beach Consulting, said in a statement. “Even what we thought was benign coverage about how a woman dresses has a negative impact on her vote and whether voters perceive her as in touch, likeable, confident, effective, and qualified. And, in close races, sexist coverage on top of the attacks that every candidate faces can make the difference between winning and losing.”

The survey found that a female candidate takes a hit in her “favorability,” “her likelihood to be seen as possessing positive traits” and “how likely voters are to vote for her.” A woman candidate loses 11 percentage points on the issue of “being in touch” when voters read about her appearance. Similarly, her likeability goes down six points, and whether voters see her as “confident,” “effective” and “qualified” each go down by five.

-snip-

Read more: http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2013/04/study-women-candidate-appearance.php?ref=fpb





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Reply Coverage Of Women Candidates’ Appearance Hurts Their Electability, Study Finds (Original post)
DonViejo Apr 2013 OP
bemildred Apr 2013 #1
SunSeeker Apr 2013 #2
marybourg Apr 2013 #4
SunSeeker Apr 2013 #5
JI7 Apr 2013 #6
SunSeeker Apr 2013 #9
Lucky Luciano Apr 2013 #7
Mr.Bill Apr 2013 #8
SunSeeker Apr 2013 #11
Lucky Luciano Apr 2013 #12
bemildred Apr 2013 #20
oldandhappy Apr 2013 #3
KansDem Apr 2013 #10
Skittles Apr 2013 #14
dembotoz Apr 2013 #13
treestar Apr 2013 #15
caraher Apr 2013 #16
daybranch Apr 2013 #19
caraher Apr 2013 #21
demcoat Apr 2013 #17
daybranch Apr 2013 #18

Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Mon Apr 8, 2013, 03:20 PM

1. That's the idea. nt

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Mon Apr 8, 2013, 03:38 PM

2. I wonder if there are any studies about the effects of mentioning men's appearance.

I'm guessing mentioning a man is handsome helps him, but mentioning a women is beautiful hurts her.

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Response to SunSeeker (Reply #2)

Mon Apr 8, 2013, 03:54 PM

4. Mens' looks are rarely mentioned.

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Response to marybourg (Reply #4)

Mon Apr 8, 2013, 04:03 PM

5. True, not like it is about women. But it does get mentioned, and does not seem to hurt men.

It's almost as if by mentioning women's looks, you remind the inner sexist in a voter that she's one of them thar squishy women who should not be in charge.

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Response to SunSeeker (Reply #2)

Mon Apr 8, 2013, 04:15 PM

6. mentioning a man is handsome doesn't really help or hurt, he is judged more on the issues

or even their personality .

take scott brown as an example. the first time around he would have lost if the Dem had just campaigned but since the Dem decided not to he was able to get out there without any competition and present a false image of a nice guy who isn't like those other republicans.

the 2nd time around people had a voting record and a candidate who was challenging him and he was shown to be a nasty guy with the bigoted native american stuff and other crap. so people got rid of him.

both times his physical appearance was mentioned, especially that centerfold but that didn't really matter in terms of whether he would gain/lose support.

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Response to JI7 (Reply #6)

Mon Apr 8, 2013, 04:51 PM

9. Exactly. nt

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Response to SunSeeker (Reply #2)

Mon Apr 8, 2013, 04:22 PM

7. Not true. Dennis Kucinich is often viewed as too short and wimpy looking to be "presidential." nt

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Response to Lucky Luciano (Reply #7)

Mon Apr 8, 2013, 04:31 PM

8. It is also often mentioned

that his wife is too beautiful (and tall) for him.

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Response to Lucky Luciano (Reply #7)

Mon Apr 8, 2013, 05:00 PM

11. I don't think talk of his looks cost him his seat. Gerrymandering did.

And it didn't help that he said he had seen a UFO at Shirley Maclaine's house.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/10/31/kucinich-i-did-see-a-ufo_n_70566.html


I don't recall any MSM mention of his looks. Please provide a link to a MSM article about him that mentions his (as opposed to this wife's) looks or what he is wearing. Male politician's looks are rarely mentioned in news reports.

This OP is about the effect of mentioning a women's looks. Not the effect of that women's looks. I think what a person (man or woman) looks like has an effect on people's opinion of that person, unfortunately. But according to this study, just having your looks MENTIONED in media reports hurts women. All I said was I am guessing having your looks mentioned in media reports does not hurt men to the same extent. Until we have a proper study, we won't know if that is true or not. But we will all have our hunches.


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Response to SunSeeker (Reply #11)

Mon Apr 8, 2013, 05:02 PM

12. I'm at work. Too busy for more than a one liner.

I do remember it from his runs for president.

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Response to SunSeeker (Reply #2)

Tue Apr 9, 2013, 08:31 AM

20. It is always intrusive to discuss how people look without their invitation.

It is the sort of thing one does to underlings: "Look at you! You're all wet!" "I'm sorry Sir, you need a tie." "Go blow your nose." One always hesitates to tell the boss he has a booger in his nose. So when you do things like that, you suggest not-boss.

So, it attacks ones dignity, so it's very popular in politics, unwarranted familiarity, and it is a favorite way to diminish foes. Of course, what one discusses varies by the gender and stature and so on of ones foe. Sexual matters are of course central in all this ape-competition over status.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Mon Apr 8, 2013, 03:52 PM

3. No surprise here

Agree with #2. Women get slammed every which way. But we gotta get out there and run any way!

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Mon Apr 8, 2013, 04:57 PM

10. I've always been intrigued by the variety of styles and colors of Congressional women

January 4, 2013 -- The New Congress, Women and a Cultural Change That Profound




http://www.bagnewsnotes.com/2013/01/the-new-congress-women-and-a-cultural-change-that-profound/

I would suspect male members of Congress would be wearing dark colors and conservative styles...

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Response to KansDem (Reply #10)

Tue Apr 9, 2013, 12:29 AM

14. aw look at Ms. Duckworth

she's lovely....OMG did I wreck her chances of getting elected?

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Mon Apr 8, 2013, 09:13 PM

13. everytime i think americans can not get more shallow......

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Tue Apr 9, 2013, 12:33 AM

15. Men never have to worry about it

Imagine a woman as ugly as Cheney getting elected. We miss out on a lot of qualified people due to our shallowness when it comes to women.

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Tue Apr 9, 2013, 01:08 AM

16. That always bothered me about the Ashley Judd for Senate discussions

How many threads were there with photos of Judd and/or McConnell coupled with commentary that focused less on Judd's sterling liberal credentials and activism than on contrasting her beauty with the usual "human turtle" jibes McConnell receives?

I was a little worried that voters in the middle could easily swing against the more attractive candidate almost as if to prove they were not being swayed by appearance.

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Response to caraher (Reply #16)

Tue Apr 9, 2013, 06:15 AM

19. Backwards

Good lord, next you will tell us to feel sorry for the rich and powerful. There is nothing wrong with reflecting on why we support a candidate. Looks are part of the equation and nothing is wrong with us thinking and examining how big an impact this makes. Do you not think Romney looked Presidential and that got him votes from some including women?
I think you are willing to conclude everything this lady got, she earned and her looks had nothing to do with it. Sadly that is probably not the case and Obama and other politicians are taking note that her appearance will get her votes in the future.
I would not vote for her based on her looks but some would and I will bet some will vote for her based only on that.
If you want to decry the impact of physical appearance on political stature, a better example to discuss would be Sarah Palin, although I think you will find an opposite conclusion to the one you have drawn.

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Response to daybranch (Reply #19)

Tue Apr 9, 2013, 09:19 AM

21. I'm not denying that being attractive helped put Judd into the picture

I think you missed my point a bit - I'm disappointed that DUers who engaged in this aren't much better than the Palinites. And the information in the OP suggests that the kind of direct comparison of physical appearance I saw regarding Judd and McConnell is actively counterproductive and so should be avoided for tactical political reasons.

I accept that we live in a world where appearance does matter and I posted that not because I feel sorry for Ashley Judd, but because I don't want Democrats to shoot themselves in the foot!

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Tue Apr 9, 2013, 01:25 AM

17. And complete sentence should have read

 

Among female voters

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Tue Apr 9, 2013, 06:06 AM

18. I get it

when she is attractive which gains her lots of votes, erasing some of that unearned popularity by stating the obvious and causing people to question whether their support is based on her ideas or just on her attractiveness is unfair? No, if she gets points for attractiveness, maybe realizing that is only objective. Am I now going to automatically give more weight to less attractive candidates, no , but I may make more objective decisions. As a man, I am often swayed by feminine beauty and see no problem if I am reminded of that fact.
Women everyday seek to sway opinions of others with their appearance as do we men. Women should welcome when we just congratulate them on their success in looking attractive. I am absolutely sure that with the tools found in women's makeup cases, if they did not want to profit by looking good they could arrange it. Sorry Ladies, you cannot have it both ways. Are the women who are not as attractive, complaining about unfairness done to this lady?

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