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Smile Power in Politics: What We Can Learn From Candidate Grins

Posted on December 1, 2015 in Just for Kicks

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From Hilary Clinton to Donald Trump, politicians have been wielding their smile power across our influential state this campaign season. Can something as minuscule as a smile, on the grand politico platform really make an impact? You'd be surprised:

Smiles can influence elections. In a crowded political field, votes often come down to sub­lim­in­al qual­it­ies. Candidates who smile in campaign photos have improved polling outcomes, compared to those who don’t smile. It's a fine line for tough-as-nails politicians, as smiling is a submissive behavior. In fact, smiling revealed the loser of martial arts matches.

As contentious as politics can be, it's not an MMA fight. So don't count on Marco Rubio pulling a Ronda Rousey anytime soon.

The science of smiling is subtle in politics.

To a voter's subconscious, a smile is a glimpse into a can­did­ate's per­son­al­ity. A speech can be scripted—but smiles are not. If a candidate shows a subdued smile in the face of crowd cheers, it may in­dic­ate bash­ful­ness. People who smile as their opponents are attacked may signal vin­dict­ive­ness.

It's not that one smile is better than an­oth­er, it's that the smile should be consist­ent with the message. If a can­did­ate is speaking about hope for the future, his or her smile should appear happy, not staged or con­temp­tu­ous.

So, no matter which party you are caucusing for, add a final gut-check before approving their agenda and look at his or her smile before you cast your vote. Which candidates' smiles will stand supreme in Iowa? Share your thoughts below!