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Candidate's looks matter, if female

October 31, 2008|Times Wire Reports

Women running for top offices need to appear competent and attractive, according to a new study. For male candidates, seeming competent may be enough.

"What we found was quite startling," said Joan Y. Chiao of Northwestern University's psychology department.

For male candidates, the only thing that mattered to male voters was competence, whereas female voters preferred men who seemed both competent and approachable.

But for "female candidates for a hypothetical election for the United States presidency, both male and female voters were more likely to vote for candidates that were both competent and attractive," Chiao said in a telephone interview

Why? One theory involves the way people choose friends and mates. The findings are being published online by the journal PLoS ONE.

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