People asked to rate the competence of an individual based on a quick glance at a photo predicted the outcome of elections more than two-thirds of the time.
Nearly 300 students were asked to look at pairs of photographs for as little as one-tenth of a second and pick the individual they felt was more competent.
The participants were shown photos of leading candidates for governor or senator in other parts of the country, but they were not told they were evaluating candidates. Those who recognized any of the photos were not counted.
When the elections took place two weeks later, the researchers found that the competency snap judgments predicted the winners in 72.4 percent of the senatorial races and 68.6 percent of the gubernatorial races.
A false correlation or proof that for most people voting really is a popularity contest?