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(JTA) — Better-looking U.S. politicians receive more television coverage, a new Israeli study found.
The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Haifa, asked 463 Israeli students to rank the attractiveness of the 110th U.S. Congress, which served in 2007, based on the official photographs posted on the government websites. Presidential candidates, the speaker of the House of Representatives, and majority and minority leaders were excluded from the rankings.
After controlling for seniority, political standing, electoral vulnerability, ideology, legislative activity and communication efforts, gender and race, among other variables, the study found that physical attractiveness was the third strongest predictor of television coverage, increasing coverage by 11.6 percent.
The researchers, Dr. Israel Waismel Manor and Professor Yariv Tsfati, speculated in the study that as attractiveness does not correspond to newspaper or radio coverage, television journalists seek out attractive politicians in order to appeal to audiences.
According to the study, the top three attractive politicians were Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-S.D.), and Sen. Saxby Chambliss Jr. (R-Ga.).
The top 10 featured eight Republicans, six representatives and six men, as well as a married Republican couple: Reps. Connie Mack IV of Florida, No. 4, and Mary Bono Mack of California, No. 8. Both Democrats were women.
No Jewish lawmakers were included in the top 10.