Sexy Sarah Palin—Did Alaska Governor's Looks Undermine Her Political Appeal?

A new report shows that Palin's looks undercut her candidacy. But maybe we need more study.

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By Robert Schlesinger, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

Did Sarah Palin's much-discussed good looks undermine her in last fall's elections? According to a new study, voters who found her, ahem, physically appealing were less likely to find her politically appealing. Or not.

Actually, as amusing as the study is—and as great as it is to be able to put "Sarah Palin" and "sexy" in the same headline—it sounds just a bit too good (or bad) to be true.

The study involved having undergraduate students write about either Palin or that other noted hot politician, Angelina Jolie. According to the researchers, independents and Republicans who wrote about Palin's looks were more down on her competence, smarts, and capability than those who wrote about Palin's personality.

Hey, maybe there's something to this. And maybe there's more room for study here. Like using voters of all ages instead of college students (did the 133 undergrads vote or plan to vote?). Maybe a future study could include other female pols of, ahem, all shapes and sizes. Is it that hot female politicians are taken less seriously? Or is it that Sarah Palin is taken less seriously?

And in the specific case of Palin, a future study might control for other factors. Like the fact that she was clearly unprepared to be a national candidate. That might also have had something to do with peoples' views of her.

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