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Thread: Any theories on effect of photos on voting slips?

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    Default Any theories on effect of photos on voting slips?

    I was wondering does anyone have any theories on the effect of having photos on the voting slips (not sure when this came in - seems fairly recent). Or anyone know any research in this area? i.e. what I mean is the sort of candidates that it might help or hinder.

    Just curious. I have a wild theory but there may not be any basis for it but I'd be interested to see what others think?
    Check out masculinist concerns at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masculism if you dare!

    Disclaimer: I don't claim to represent past or current pupils of Belvedere. I did not put much thought into my username (2 seconds??) - I just randomly picked something that wasn't a username I used on another forum

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    Default Any theories on effect of photos on voting slips?

    the dept of govt in UCC (i think) are doing reserach on this issue for this years local elections.

    whats you wild theory?

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    Default Any theories on effect of photos on voting slips?

    the dept of govt in UCC (i think) are doing reserach on this issue for this years local elections.

    whats you wild theory?
    That's interesting.

    As I say, it's total speculation but here goes: When people are launching something, they often get a young attractive female model for the photo. This is based I think because in a newspaper or similar, people's attention will be drawn to an attractive model; I'm fairly sure this is true for males, I think for females as well although less sure of this. I remember reading some research where men will strain to see attractive female faces or something.

    Anyway, I just wonder could this mean when one is faced with a poll paper, one's eyes would tend to look at attractive female faces; I'm not sure how much effect this would have on first preferences but further down, when looking up and down, one's eyes might navigate to young women for lower preferences over others????

    I don't know how older women or men of different ages would fit in to this. Example, maybe an older woman might do particularly badly over a man where age mightn't matter???

    Not sure how people of different races might fit into this as well, because of some people's prejudices?

    I suspect also that what might be considered ugly people e.g. I know it's a generalisation, but an obese or severely obese person might not do as well with photos.


    When thinking about this, a little experiment I thought of was to get together a group of hundreds of people (or larger??); draw up manifestos; have photos of different candidates and randomly assign a photo to a manifesto and see does it matter what the photo was.
    This would have to be refined of course because it might simply be gender but this might be done by have a controlled group which had the exact same situation but without the photos (but where the names were obviously male and female).

    Maybe different methods of presenting candidates on ballot papers could be researched to see which brings the least bias.

    Of course, one could probably investigate other things that political parties might like e.g. would a smiling candidate help or one who doesn't smile; hairstyles; etc.
    Check out masculinist concerns at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masculism if you dare!

    Disclaimer: I don't claim to represent past or current pupils of Belvedere. I did not put much thought into my username (2 seconds??) - I just randomly picked something that wasn't a username I used on another forum

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    Default Any theories on effect of photos on voting slips?

    or could it be plain and simple that it helps those who have reading and writing difficulties.

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    Default Any theories on effect of photos on voting slips?

    or could it be plain and simple that it helps those who have reading and writing difficulties.
    I'm not saying it was done with any conspiracy in mind.
    And, as you say, the current system helps such people.

    I think it would be an interesting thing to study; if others don't, that's their business.
    Check out masculinist concerns at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masculism if you dare!

    Disclaimer: I don't claim to represent past or current pupils of Belvedere. I did not put much thought into my username (2 seconds??) - I just randomly picked something that wasn't a username I used on another forum

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    Default Any theories on effect of photos on voting slips?

    look to dept. of environ website for report ex Lansdowne Markewtign re this for last euro elections ....

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    Default Any theories on effect of photos on voting slips?

    (I edited this just to fix up the URL but for some reason everything at the end is now underlined like a link and when editing there is no preview facility so I'll just leave it!)

    look to dept. of environ website for report ex Lansdowne Markewtign re this for last euro elections ....
    Thanks very much, revereie.

    For those that don't know, the website is
    http://www.environ.ie


    Skimming down the research, it seems interesting although didn't appear to analyse the sort of issues I mentioned (influence of appearance e.g. attractiveness/unattractiveness, gender, age, race, weight, etc). It does raise some issues I hadn't considered.

    I just have an "amateur" interest in politics so didn't actually know that it was only used for the European elections.

    I don't know where I stand on the use of photos - they seem like a good idea but I think they need to be investigated further as the potential for introducing bias in voter choice would seem to be an important issue.


    Here are the last few (consecutive) comments which sort of summarises the findings.

    Secondly, there is evidence that photographs have the potential to influence the choice made by the voters. Any such influence is particularly serious in the light of the third consideration, which is that the recognition of candidates is biased in favour of certain kinds of candidates and against others.

    Finally, the use of photographs also introduces a bias in the electoral process in favour of candidate-criteria as opposed to party-criteria. In this, it accentuates what some believe to be an already undesirable emphasis on intra-party competition in the system.

    In the light of the above, it is recommended that very careful consideration be given to the matter before a decision is taken to make the use of photographs a permanent feature of European Parliament elections or, in particular, before deciding to extend their use to Dail elections.

    Unless the difficulties identified above can be overcome, the recommendation of this report would be that the use of photographs should not be extended and should be discontinued in the case of European Parliament elections. It should be emphasised that these recommendations are based on a limited experiment, limited especially in that European Parliament elections are in many ways untypical.

    Accordingly, a thorough review of the policy issues would probably require further research in the context of the next general election (this would not presuppose that photographs be actually included on the ballot paper for that election). In particular, the issues of candidate recognition and incumbency advantage may be very different, and not necessarily any less troubling, in the context of a Dail constituency.

    Research should also address the question of the possible use of party logos on the ballot paper as either a necessary balancing factor vis--vis candidate photographs or as an alternative to candidate photographs. Party logos may have the potential to solve a substantial part of the informational problems of those with reading difficulties while, at the same time being considerably less vulnerable to the difficulties that this research has identified in the case of photographs.


    [Edited on 6/6/2004 by belvoboy]

    [Edited on 6/6/2004 by belvoboy]
    Check out masculinist concerns at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masculism if you dare!

    Disclaimer: I don't claim to represent past or current pupils of Belvedere. I did not put much thought into my username (2 seconds??) - I just randomly picked something that wasn't a username I used on another forum

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    Default Any theories on effect of photos on voting slips?

    belvoboy, i think an interesting case study is with deirdre heney in DNC in 92. While she polled very high number fo first prefs her transfers were quitre poor and she reccived the least out of all the FF candiates and when they were in the count less than Md Dowell, Mc Grath, maher, amnd Bruton.

    I actaully imagined that FF maight have taken the three seats as I thought that heney would get a lot of trransfers. She didn't. That said her first pref was good so maybe voters who 'fancied' her jsut went for her as their first pref.

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    Default Any theories on effect of photos on voting slips?

    belvoboy, i think an interesting case study is with deirdre heney in DNC in 92. While she polled very high number fo first prefs her transfers were quitre poor and she reccived the least out of all the FF candiates and when they were in the count less than Md Dowell, Mc Grath, maher, amnd Bruton.

    I actaully imagined that FF maight have taken the three seats as I thought that heney would get a lot of trransfers. She didn't. That said her first pref was good so maybe voters who 'fancied' her jsut went for her as their first pref.
    That's interesting, Dera. Some people really know their stuff on politics.ie (or at least have a lot of observations to draw on).

    I suppose the point about that one is that that was before photos on the ballot; it would be interesting to study whether such an effect exists (i.e. candidates are voted for because people fancy them) and maybe even whether this effect was increased by having photos.

    Of course, the opposite would also be interesting i.e. if people don't "fancy" somebody, is that a disadvantage and would this effect be heightened.

    And then should politicians actually be running campaigns to make people fancy them!!??

    I'm sure this could be over-stated and it mightn't be that big of a deal but I find the whole area of how ballot papers are presented and how they might affect voting patterns interesting.

    Also am I right in assuming that the advice/findings from the study by Lansdowne Research poll which I mentioned above is being ignored and the same method that was used in 1999 is being used again now for the Euro elections? And if so, why is it being ignored? Does it suit the government to have the photos or there would be too much controversy if they didn't have them??
    Check out masculinist concerns at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masculism if you dare!

    Disclaimer: I don't claim to represent past or current pupils of Belvedere. I did not put much thought into my username (2 seconds??) - I just randomly picked something that wasn't a username I used on another forum

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    Default Any theories on effect of photos on voting slips?

    Does the Photo on the ballot paper discriminate against ugly people getting elected?
    Sadly not by the looks of the existing elected people!!

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