Politicians' appearances could decide election

Physical appearance of politicians, not policy or personality could play a big part in deciding who wins the upcoming election according to new research.

The study looking at the 2014 election reveals New Zealanders may be shallower than we realise.

Politicians are acutely aware of their physical appearance.

National leader Bill English said "I had acne from a young age," while Labour leader Jacinda Ardern said "I had buck teeth".

They might not realise that their appearance could turn an election.

University of Auckland researcher Danny Osbourne said "generally people who have larger foreheads are seen as more competent than those with smaller ones."

During the last election, University of Auckland researchers asked foreign citizens, not familiar with our candidates, to rate them based on their physical appearance.

"If somebody looks highly competent, they're more likely to be voted for than somebody who looks incompetent."

Kiwi politicians who looked more competent had a 200 percent greater chance of winning and it only takes us a split second to make the judgment.

"I know it's freaky but it tends to correspond with international literature."

US studies have revealed the facial test results accurately predict 70 percent of election outcomes.

Scientific research reveals that we can make split second judgements, high cheekbones and eyebrows are much more appealing.

Politicians can talk policy all they like but it could be their face the public is interested in.