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06/26/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Penn Study: Dog Ownership Affects Voter Preferences

Politicians take note: When it comes to clinching an election, a dog may really be your best friend.

A recent study done by University of Pennsylvania communication professor Diana Mutz confirms that whether or not a candidate owns a dog -- and, for that matter, whether or not a voter has a dog -- influences voting patterns.

The Daily Pennsylvanian reports:

[Mutz] found that dog owners were on the whole more likely to support Republican nominee John McCain, whose dog ownership had previously been publicized, over Obama, who drew media attention to his "doglessness" by publicly promising his daughters a dog after the election.

After evaluating the data, Mutz was "surprised" to find that a relationship between dog ownership and candidate support still existed after taking into account all possible factors influencing voter preferences, such as education, age, location and religious beliefs.

"The implication of the analysis is that Obama could have had more support if he'd had a dog and trotted it out in front of the television cameras," she said.

Does this ring true for you? Dog owners, please weigh in below. Non-dog owners, does pet-friendliness rank on your list of candidate values?