I agree that such polls are probably best understood as polls of what people feel it is socially acceptable to believe.I think this has more to do with judging what answers people perceive as culturally acceptable then with actual changes per ce.
But that gives rise to the question, "Don't 'actual' changes follow changes in cultural acceptability?"
The link asserts:
After years of the media bringing our attention to looks, aren't we now paying more attention to looks? And, if we are, aren't looks, de facto, more important?Since the 1930s, Buss writes, “physical appearance has gone up in importance for men and women about equally, corresponding with the rise in television, fashion magazines, advertising, and other media depictions of attractive models.”
Or, are you suggesting that people are publicly giving lip support to one set of criteria while privately acting on another?
It's my perception that people are authentically attracted to other's personalities first, and that that attraction is then sent through an internal social censor for editing. A person with a personality you find exiting might end up being rejected because you'd be unable to justify them to your social circle. If everyone's internal censor is culturally set to screen for "looks" then "looks" are, suddenly, important.