Could Paul Ryan win over women . . . because he’s young and handsome?
It has been suggested many times, and some studies have apparently shown, that people are prone to vote, at least in part, based on physical appearance. It makes sense—after all, we are biologically keyed to notice physical features of the opposite sex; why would that change when selecting a candidate? Sure, we may include other characteristics—and hopefully we do!—but looks are probably in there somewhere, if only on a subconscious level.
It has also been suggested that women are more likely than men to make these sorts of superficial judgments. Without commenting on the relative merits of that assertion, it is certainly true that (heterosexual) women have a lot more opportunity to make such judgments about political candidates, since most of those who run are men.
Are they making such judgments now about Paul Ryan? Western Free Press writer Hannah Thoreson pointed out yesterday that this is becoming a theme. A few days earlier, Erick Erickson made some preliminary observations on the same subject a couple of days ago:
All this talk about “Republicans will defund Planned Parenthood so women won’t vote for them” is ridiculous, not borne out in polling, and all involves a religious devotion to killing kids . . . errrr . . . abortion on the left.
If we’re going to use the left’s presumption that women are so shallow that abortion trumps all, we can play the game as well and presume Paul Ryan will not have a problem getting women to like him. Here are the top four searches on Google over the weekend related to Paul Ryan.
I think it is fair to say that if Paul Ryan were 76 years old and less attractive, this would not be happening. Since heterosexuals make up the vast majority of the populace, one has to assume this is being driven by women. Of course, if an attractive female candidate were to come on the scene, a lot of men would surely be trying to use the internet to get a gander of her pulchritude.
The real question is, will this have an impact on the election? It’s safe to say that it will. Given the fact that the taller of two candidates for president usually wins, we can assume that personal appearance has some impact. The question is, how much? Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are both considered handsome. That, on its own, won’t win them the election. But it will have at least some impact. Enough to make the difference in a close state? We may never know . . . but it can’t hurt.
Ardently devoted to the cause of human freedom, he has worked at the confluence of politics, activism, and public policy for more than a decade. He co-wrote a ten-part series of video shorts on economics, and has film credits as a researcher on 11 political documentaries, including Citizens United's notorious film on Hillary Clinton that became the subject of a landmark Supreme Court decision. He is the founder of several activist endeavors, including AnyStreet.org (now a part of Western Free Press) and Liberatchik.com. He is currently the managing editor of and principal contributor to WesternFreePress.com.