Presentation Title

The Pageantry of Politics

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Presentation Type

Presentation

Full Name of Faculty Mentor

Michael Promisel, Political Science

Major

Political Science

Presentation Abstract

Elections and campaigns are a major component of modern American politics. Therefore it is inevitable that there is great interest in the factors that influence vote choice. While there is a plentiful amount of research pertaining to the use of heuristics, I was interested in how the physical attractiveness of a candidate could impact their success in elections. A prominent example of this occurring is President Kennedy's campaign and presidency. The introduction of radio and television assisted in this greatly, as candidates could be compared beyond their opinions. The Kennedy-Nixon debates were the first televised debates and appearances proved to be important. Kennedy's physical attractiveness was exaggerated in comparison to Nixon who was ill at the time. "As predicted, it was a close election, Kennedy winning the popular vote 49.7 percent to 49.5 percent. Polls revealed that more than half of all voters had been influenced by the Great Debates, while 6 percent claimed that the debates alone had decided their choice." (Editors, 2010). It is my contention that attractiveness has assisted in helping candidates succeed in the past and more importantly, will continue to as technology increases and knowledgable voters do not. This subject is particularly important because of how an element as insubstantial as attractiveness can play a significant role in designating our leaders.

Location

Room 1 (BRTH 101)

Start Date

13-4-2022 3:30 PM

End Date

13-4-2022 3:50 PM

Disciplines

Political Science

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Apr 13th, 3:30 PM Apr 13th, 3:50 PM

The Pageantry of Politics

Room 1 (BRTH 101)

Elections and campaigns are a major component of modern American politics. Therefore it is inevitable that there is great interest in the factors that influence vote choice. While there is a plentiful amount of research pertaining to the use of heuristics, I was interested in how the physical attractiveness of a candidate could impact their success in elections. A prominent example of this occurring is President Kennedy's campaign and presidency. The introduction of radio and television assisted in this greatly, as candidates could be compared beyond their opinions. The Kennedy-Nixon debates were the first televised debates and appearances proved to be important. Kennedy's physical attractiveness was exaggerated in comparison to Nixon who was ill at the time. "As predicted, it was a close election, Kennedy winning the popular vote 49.7 percent to 49.5 percent. Polls revealed that more than half of all voters had been influenced by the Great Debates, while 6 percent claimed that the debates alone had decided their choice." (Editors, 2010). It is my contention that attractiveness has assisted in helping candidates succeed in the past and more importantly, will continue to as technology increases and knowledgable voters do not. This subject is particularly important because of how an element as insubstantial as attractiveness can play a significant role in designating our leaders.