Insurgent Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum might have a blinking problem, according to an analysis by a research associate at the University of Minnesota.
Eric Ostermeier, a political scientist who writes the non-partisan Smart Politics blog, said that Santorum blinked at more than twice the rate of the rest of the Republican field during Saturday night’s ABC News presidential debate in Manchester.
’While research may not be settled regarding whether people who lie blink more often than those who tell the truth, potential voters are no doubt more at ease with a candidate who looks them straight in the eyes and does not pepper their speech with repetitive non-verbal tics,” Ostermeier wrote.
Smart Politics counted 2,284 on-camera blinks when candidates were speaking at the ABC debate, and Santorum accounted for 35 percent of them.
Santorum, who spoke for 12 minutes and 55 seconds in Saturday’s debate, blinked 793 times while delivering verbal remarks, or 61.4 times per minute — much higher than the average person’s rate of approximately 20-25 times per minute. The rest of the GOP field blinked 1,491 times, or just 27.8 times per minute of speech.