Overweight political candidates have gotten fewer votes than thinner opponents, finds a new study co-authored by a Michigan State University weight bias expert.
Of course, discrimination is everywhere, it is the favored position of the humanities in trying to quantify culture. In 2008, Democrats discriminated against Senator Hillary Clinton because she was a woman while Republicans were against Senator Obama in the general election because he was black. No one ever just acknowledged he was the best candidate, even in winning we were told it was despite his race.
So political parties should be picking the thinnest candidates? That explains why Pres. Obama beat Gov. Mitt Romney in 2012. He had a smaller waist.
"We found weight had a significant effect on voting behavior," said Mark Roehling, professor of human resources at Michigan State University. "Additionally, the greater size disparity between candidates, the greater the vote share of the more slender candidate."
His expertise in making this strange correlation? Before he became a university professor, Roehling was a civil attorney who specialized in employment cases - like weight discrimination.
To make their case, he and his wife, Patricia Roehling, a psychology professor at Hope College, analyzed data from the 2008 and 2012 U.S. Senate elections. Research assistants determined from color photos whether the candidates in 126 primary and general elections were normal weight, overweight or obese.
Both obese men and women were less likely to get on the ballot in the first place. When it came to merely being overweight, women were underrepresented on the ballot, though men were not. This is consistent with previous research showing men who are slightly heavy tend not to experience discrimination like that of slightly overweight women.
However, when it came to the voting, both male and female candidates – whether obese or simply overweight – got a lower share of the vote total than their more slender opponents.
So if you want to win in 2016, get to warbling, Governor Christie.