New York: Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder and this is more so if you are into politics or if you have political affiliations, shows a new study.

People view their political leaders “through partisan-coloured lenses”, the findings revealed.

Thus, the Democrats will view US President Barack Obama as more attractive while Republicans will rate Sarah Palin as better looking, explained the study.

“We showed pictures of familiar and unfamiliar political leaders to voters in two different samples and found that familiarity and partisanship each significantly influenced how candidates were perceived,” said Kevin Kniffin from Cornell University’s Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management and lead author of the study.

Researchers then removed the partisan-coloured lenses by asking participants to see unlabelled pictures of unfamiliar political leaders from distant states.

The results for those unfamiliar candidates showed no favouritism based on political affiliation.

“If you don’t recognize political leaders and can’t view them through partisan lenses, they don’t have the halos or horns that influence perceptions of familiar leaders,” Kevin concluded.

The study appeared in The Leadership Quarterly.

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