Palin’s Hotness Cost McCain Votes: Study

The Alaska governor's good looks could have cost her votes in the 2008 election

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Sexy Sarah Palin better dowdy up if she's hoping to make a White House run in 2012.

The Alaska governor's hotness could be to blame for the defeat she suffered with running mate John McCain in the 2008 election, a study published Wednesday found.

The University of South Florida study, "Objectifying Sarah Palin: Evidence that Objectification Causes Women to be Perceived as Less Competent and Less Fully Human," studied the effects that the focus on Palin's appearance had on her overall perception as a candidate.

The study divided 133 undergraduates into two groups. One group was instructed to write a few lines about Palin's appearance, while another was asked to jot down general thoughts about the governor.

Both groups were then instructed to rate her various personality traits, including Palin's intelligence, trustworthiness and likeability.

The students who focused first on Palin's appearance rated her overall personality well, but gave the "pit bull in lipstick" low marks for capability and competence. Study authors concluded that the undergraduates who focused on Palin's physical attributes found her less credible and politically viable.

The GOP clearly banked on Palin's good looks during the 2008 election, dropping tens of thousands of dollars cash on her wardrobe in a shopping scandal that broke during the campaign.

Study author Nathan Heflick said that focusing on Palin's looks made respondents "less likely to vote for her."

"It was the effect her appearance had on their perception of her competence and humanity," Heflick told Miller-McCune magazine.

The governor placed in the top ten of prospective GOP candidates Republicans said they'd vote for in the 2012 general election.

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