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October 27th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

What if voters choose candidates based on their looks?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Want to know why we're in trouble?

Former Governor and presidential candidate Mitt Romney is known for 'looking the part' of a candidate.

Former Governor and presidential candidate Mitt Romney is known for 'looking the part' of a candidate.

Political candidates with good hair have a much better chance of being elected than candidates with bad hair, whether either of them knows anything about the issues.

That should scare all of us - but it's true.

A new study by MIT researchers published in the journal "World Politics" shows that people vote for politicians just because they "look the part." That's right: They'll cast a ballot for someone simply because they look smart, competent or attractive.

The research also shows that this phenomenon isn't just unique to the United States, but exists across cultures. In their study, more than 600 participants in the United States and India were shown pictures of candidates in 120 Mexican and Brazilian races. Then they were asked who would do a better job in office.

The Americans and Indians accurately predicted the outcomes of these political races to a surprising degree - based on nothing more than the candidates' faces.

According to the study, just by knowing which candidate looked better, researchers could accurately predict the winner in 68 percent of Mexican elections and 75 percent of some Brazilian elections.

Voting for the good-looking candidate is not a new idea. One of the researchers says, "Ever since Aristotle, people have written about the concern that charismatic leaders who speak well and look good can sway votes even if they do not share the people's views."

But the fact that voters across the world in the 21st century, with all the problems we face, could be exercising their democratic right based on nothing more than good hair or a nice smile is downright frightening.

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean if voters choose candidates based on their looks?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: 2010 Election • Election Process • Elections
October 27th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Do you have faith that elections are honest?

ALT TEXT

(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

We should all know the drill by now:

If it's election time, then it's time for accusations of fraud and voting irregularities. And, with six days yet to go until the midterms, we cite the following:

In Nevada, there are reports in some counties that voting machines are automatically checking Harry Reid's name on the ballot.

It's worth pointing out that the voting machine technicians in one of these counties are members of the Service Employees International Union - a group that's planning to give tens of millions of dollars in this election, most of it to Democrats. Harry Reid is a democrat.

  • In North Carolina - a voter says he tried to vote a straight Republican ticket… but his choices showed up as Democrat. Four times.
  • In Illinois, it's the first election where any registered voter can cast their ballot by mail. But one official says that as many as hundreds of thousands of voters who are planning to get a ballot in the mail could be disenfranchised.
  • Also in Illinois, 36 counties missed the deadline to send ballots overseas - to members of the military and other voters.
  • In Pennsylvania, some residents along with a county Republican committee claim a Democratic congressman is trying to flood the voter registration office with fraudulent applications for absentee ballots.
  • And then there's Florida, without which no election drama would be complete. The Daytona Beach city commissioner and his campaign manager were just arrested and charged with committing absentee ballot fraud.

And the election is still almost a week away.

Here’s my question to you: How much faith do you have that our elections are honest?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: 2010 Election • Election Funding • Election Process • Elections