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Pretty faces, marginal races: Predicting election outcomes using trait assessments of British parliamentary candidates

Mattes, Kyle; Milazzo, Caitlin

Authors

Kyle Mattes

Caitlin Milazzo



Abstract

The conventional wisdom on Western European politics leads us to believe that all the "action" lies with parties, because the unified parliamentary delegations in Western Europe draw voters' attention to parties' policies and images. Though British elections take place under a single member district plurality system, British parties, like their continental counterparts, are highly centralised and feature disciplined parliamentary delegations. Despite the strong ties between British candidates and their parties, we demonstrate that perceptions of candidates' personal attributes can be used to predict general election outcomes. Using a computer-based survey where subjects are asked to evaluate real British candidates using only rapidly determined first impressions of facial images, we successfully predict outcomes from the 2010 general election. Moreover, we find that perceptions of candidates' relative attractiveness are particularly useful for predicting outcomes in marginal constituencies. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2014-06
Journal Electoral Studies
Print ISSN 0261-3794
Electronic ISSN 0261-3794
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 34
Pages 177-189
APA6 Citation Mattes, K., & Milazzo, C. (2014). Pretty faces, marginal races: Predicting election outcomes using trait assessments of British parliamentary candidates. Electoral Studies, 34, 177-189. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.electstud.2013.11.004
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.electstud.2013.11.004
Keywords British Elections, Candidate Traits, Electoral Competition
Publisher URL http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0261379413001819
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0

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Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0





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