08/14/2015

A Candidate’s Voice Might Sway Your Vote

17:32 minutes

Voters tend to prefer politicians with deeper voices, according to an analysis that political scientist Casey Klofstad conducted of the 2012 election for the House of Representatives. He says deeper voices might be perceived as a sign of strength and competence, helping candidates win the seat. Susan Miller, a vocal coach who has also analyzed the voices of politicians, says variance in pitch is another key factor in making a voice pleasing to the ear.

But what happens in a matchup between a male and female candidate? In that case, Klofstad says, male candidates might want to adopt a higher pitch, which he says may make the male candidate sound less aggressive in debates.

Segment Guests

Casey Klofstad

Casey Klofstad is an associate professor of political science at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida.

Susan Miller

Susan Miller is the founder of Voicetrainer, a company that trains people to improve their voices and presentation skills. She’s based in Punta Gorda, Florida and Washington, D.C.

Meet the Producer

About Christopher Intagliata

Christopher Intagliata is Science Friday’s senior producer. He once served as a prop in an optical illusion and speaks passable Ira Flatowese.