Logic and Emotion in Public Discourse
Edited by Ofer Feldman
Chapter 10: Facial expressions in election campaign posters: the effect of smiling on winning political seats during the 2017 Japanese lower house election
Existing studies have shown that more attractive candidates running for office have an electoral advantage. We extend this research in two ways. First, we examine this relationship further in a non-Western context using the 2017 lower house election in Japan. Second, employing the latest cutting-edge face-recognition technology to measure candidate smile on campaign posters, we provide new evidence suggesting that a candidate smile has an effect on vote share depending on the number of candidates running in a single-member district. The results of regression analyses using the latest Japanese lower house election data show that the impact of candidate smile matters only in the electoral districts where the total number of candidates exceeds five for challengers.
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