Survey Reveals President Bush and Teresa Heinz Kerry Most Attractive to U.S. Public

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GMI World Poll indicates undecided voters likely to select Senator Kerry this November despite their opinions of his physical appearance

— If politics were a beauty contest, George W. Bush and Teresa Heinz Kerry would come in first place, according to a poll by independent global market research company GMI, Inc.

In the on-line survey, respondents were shown photos of President Bush and Senator Kerry and asked, “Which candidate do you think is most attractive?” They were then asked to indicate who is more attractive among First Lady Laura Bush and the wife of the presidential challenger.

Sixty-seven percent of the U.S. respondents believe President Bush is more attractive, compared to 33 percent who prefer Kerry’s looks. Beauty, however, does not fall along party lines. While respondents think Bush is more handsome than Kerry, 56 percent of those surveyed liked the looks of Teresa Heinz Kerry, compared with 44 percent who prefer Laura Bush.

According to Dr. Pepper R. Schwartz, sociology professor at the University of Washington, “All the data on attractiveness mentions the importance of symmetry, and Bush is much more symmetrical than Kerry.”

In terms of first ladies, Schwartz describes Bush as “more formal" and “preppy” than Heinz Kerry who looks “more natural and perhaps a bit more unpredictable.” She adds, “Whether or not you find this attractive, of course, might link up with your more general conservatism about sexuality.”

Despite the general preference for the President’s appearance, the GMI World Poll shows that Kerry not only continues to gain support from people who favored George W. Bush in 2000 but is also converting a number of undecided voters. Although the survey indicates one in every three undecided voters think Bush is more attractive than his challenger, it also reveals the majority of undecided voters ultimately will base their decisions on the candidates’ platforms, not their personal values or belief systems. This reinforces poll results that undecided voters reflect the profile of Kerry’s base, according to Dr. Mitchell Eggers, chief operating officer at GMI.

Eggers, who develops the content for all GMI World Polls, included the attractiveness questions because he believes physical appearances definitely influence voters. “In the modern media, attractiveness is one of those subliminal characteristics that helps candidates project themselves and their views,” he explains.

Internationally, survey respondents did not mirror U.S. feelings about the candidates’ appearance; while people in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom think Bush is more attractive, those in China, Japan, Germany, France and Russia prefer Kerry’s appearance. Sociologist Schwartz confirms that cultural and historical differences influence what people think is attractive. However, every country except China and Japan believe Heinz Kerry is more attractive than Laura Bush.

The GMI World Poll survey sampled 1,000 media-informed individuals in each of the world’s leading G8 economic nations*. The poll indicated that the majority of undecided voters seem to reflect the attitudes of Kerry’s base in terms of religious background, feelings about the U.S. economy, and opinions on terrorism, the Iraqi War and other international affairs.

GMI also found that more than 41 percent of voters aligned with Kerry claimed they would cast a Democratic ballot this November simply because they disliked Bush and his foreign policies, rather than due to any strong affinity they had for the presidential challenger.

The recently completed survey is the third World Poll conducted by GMI over the past several months. GMI World Poll questions are designed to solicit opinions on numerous topical issues and critical global events. GMI surveys use fully profiled double opt-in panels from more than 500 global sources to help achieve 97-percent accuracy in their statistical results.    

Results of all GMI World Poll surveys are available at http://www.worldpoll.com . Upon request, GMI will provide media with comprehensive World Poll survey results cross-tabulated by variables such as age, gender, geographic region, and where applicable, race and ethnicity.

*G8 nations are the world's major industrial democracies, including Canada, France, Germany, China, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Political questions in China were omitted.

About GMI World Poll

GMI World Poll quickly and accurately gathers international opinions about topical issues and critical global events, with real-time results available in as little as 24 hours. GMI World Poll is the only survey that polls global opinions in real time, on-line, and with statistically accurate results.

About GMI

GMI provides e-Business solutions for market research. The company’s advanced software, global panels, and service bureau capabilities are built around a deep competence in conducting multi-country research using a Net-centric approach to data collection. With operations on four continents, GMI is the partner of choice for conducting global market research at the speed of the Internet.

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Mark Houston
GMI
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