The Body Politic: How Plastic Surgery Influences Votes
Posted by Elisabeth Kramer on Oct 14th, 2015
We know looks matter when landing a job so how about when landing the biggest job in the country? Do voters care if they hear a politician they support for president had work done? Does it influence their votes and if so, in what way?
Here’s what we found when we presented 380 registered U.S. voters six different scenarios related to political candidates and elective cosmetic procedures.
By and large, the reaction was a positive one; the majority of respondents said their vote wouldn’t be influenced if they heard a candidate they supported, be that candidate male or female, had work done.
There was, however, a significant population that did respond negatively. In other words, they’d either reconsider their votes or change it entirely if they heard a candidate they supported had an elective cosmetic procedure.
- Male voters judge candidates most harshly. No matter the procedure or the gender of the candidate, a higher percentage of male voters than female voters had a negative reaction to the news a candidate they supported got work done. An average of 17% of male voters responded negatively compared to an average 12% of female voters.
- Candidates rumored to have had an eyelid lift or facelift lost the most votes. Both male and female voters reacted most harshly to hearing the candidate, whether male or female, had this kind of procedure.
- But if the candidate was female, she lost out the most. 21% of male voters reacted negatively if they heard a female candidate had a facelift; only 17% said the same for a male candidate. 15% of women, meanwhile, reacted negatively if the candidate was male; 14% if the candidate was female.
- So what were voters OK with? Female voters were significantly more likely than male voters to be unchanged in their views if they heard a candidate — male or female — had Botox.
- The voter’s gender isn’t the only thing that mattered. Age also played a part. The voting intentions of 45- to 54-year-olds tended to be the least likely to change. On average, only 8% had a negative reaction across all the procedures discussed.
- On the other end of the spectrum were 55- to 64-year-olds. They were the most unforgiving, with an average of 24% reacting negatively to the procedures covered. They reacted most negatively to hearing a female candidate had a weight loss procedure; nearly one in three 55- to 64-year-olds had a negative response to that premise. That’s the largest negative reaction among any age group for any procedure.
- Where someone lived mattered too. Compared to respondents living in urban and suburban areas, those in rural communities had consistently higher negative reactions. On average, 1 in 5 had a negative reaction to the procedures.
- Male candidates having eyelid or facelift surgery produced the highest negative response (27%) among respondents in a rural area.
Remember, these responses are based solely on the premise that a voter heard a candidate had work done — not that the candidate actually did have work done — proving once again how the power of influence can make or break a political campaign.
RealSelf surveyed 380 registered U.S. voters. We presented the following six scenarios:
1. You support a male candidate for U.S. President. Then you hear he had Botox. How does this change your opinion of that candidate?
2. You support a female candidate for U.S. President. Then you hear she had Botox. How does this change your opinion of that candidate?
3. You support a male candidate for U.S. President. Then you hear he had his eyelids or face surgically lifted. How does this change your opinion of that candidate?
4. You support a female candidate for U.S. President. Then you hear she had her eyelids or face surgically lifted. How does this change your opinion of that candidate?
5. You support a male candidate for U.S. President. Then you hear he had weight loss surgery (gastric bypass or lap band). How does this change your opinion of that candidate?
6. You support a female candidate for U.S. President. Then you hear she had weight loss surgery (gastric bypass or lap band). How does this change your opinion of that candidate?
For each question, respondents were given three choices:
1. No change. I’d support him/her the same.
2. I would reconsider my vote.
3. I will no longer vote for him/her.
Results were tabulated and weighted in Google Consumer Surveys.
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