The Daily flags a study by Boston College psychopysiologist Joseph Tecce that says the candidate that blinks more during debates has lost every election but one since 1980. The only exception was George W. Bush who blinked more than Al Gore in 2000.
During the 2008 general election, Tecce's theory has borne out nicely: Obama, who blinked 62 times per minute, trounced McCain who clocked in at 104 times per minute.
"If you drive a car 100 miles an hour, you will lose your driving license, and if you blink 100 times a minute, you will lose an election," Tecce opined in a recent presentation.
Tecce bases his theory on the well-established relationship between our eye movements and our emotional state. Typically, stress and other unpleasant feelings cause people to blink more often. As social creatures, we also recognize faster blinking as a sign of distress in others.
Explaining the apparent link with election results is a bit trickier though. Does the audience find the faster-blinking candidate unnerving and form a negative impression? Or does the candidate who is trailing in the polls tend to be under greater stress — and therefore likely to blink more often? Tecce says that both factors likely come into play.
This year, Romney seems to be an early favorite to blink less, based on Tecce's analysis of the candidates' most-recent convention speeches. Romney blinked 33 times a minute during his acceptance address, while Obama did 41 times a minute.