How Many People?

By
Monday, September 14, 2009 at 9:06 am

So, how many people showed up at the 9/12 taxpayer march on Washington? One signal of the confusion over crowd counts came from the stage. Speakers alternately thanked a crowd that numbered in the “tens of thousands” and the “hundreds of thousands.” The source of that confusion, however, seemed to come from Twitter. The plugged-in Tea Party protesters who watched their progress on the insta-blogging service found anonymous and semi-anonymous people claiming that their numbers were nearing 2 million. At one point, Matt Kibbe of FreedomWorks got on stage and told the crowds that ABC News was reporting those high numbers.

Kibbe has walked that number back, crediting the mistake to misinformation on Twitter, and that leaves ABC’s estimate of 60,000 to 70,000 protesters as the one that most media are using. Some conservatives are arguing for a bigger number; Robert Stacy McCain, in a post linked by Michelle Malkin, argues that “a people-meter at the intersection of Constitution Avenue and 11th Street” counted 450,000 people, and that some people made it late to the event due to traffic problems, so the media is undercounting it.

This dispute won’t end soon, as any veterans of anti-war protests could tell conservatives; it’s tough to get accurate crowd counts and tough to believe that something that felt massive was not, in fact, historically large. This was the largest march on Washington by conservatives in anyone’s memory. But Washington was home to one of the largest public gatherings of the decade just nine months ago, when 1.8 million people filled the mall from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial for President Obama’s inauguration, and that has given future protesters a barometer for their success. The reports of “2 million people” on the mall this weekend were always ludicrous.

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Comments

14 Comments

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DISSENT: Thousands of disgruntled tea party protesters march against President Barack Obama, meaningful health care reform, and government spending « The Conservation Report
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Tom
Comment posted September 14, 2009 @ 6:58 pm

You must be very, very young if you believe this was “the largest march on Washington by conservatives in anyone’s memory. In 1997 the Promise Keeper demonstration was estimated to be around 500,000. there are numerous reports from the period, but here's a link to the LAT:
Christian Men Hold Huge Rally on D.C. Mall – Los Angeles Times

Here's a link about Promise Keeper to vouch for it's conservative bona fides.

Promise Keepers – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


alchemytoday
Comment posted September 14, 2009 @ 7:08 pm

The timelapse of the rally shows Penn Av filled from Freedom Plaza to the Capitol. That's 60,000 square meters. Crowd density wasn't more than 1 person per square meter judging by videos and pictures of the march. Obviously my employment of the metric system betrays my liberal bias, but anyone who's been a big metro marathon or similar race where the starting gates are about as large as that area and way more packed will tell you that was under 100,000 people.


strangely_enough
Comment posted September 14, 2009 @ 7:09 pm

A picture of that '97 rally has been making the rounds on the internets purporting to be a photo from Saturday. Too easily debunked.


larryandrews
Comment posted September 14, 2009 @ 8:26 pm

Too bad the 1.8 million didn't get off their buts sooner and investigate the guy BEFORE they voted.
I have been asking that question since 1/20/09. They apparently were more enraptured with the Obama blog of bluster.An empty suit with empty words. Voters drank the KOOL-AID as they did with Jimmy Carter. Neither should have been elected as they had the same qualifications
Sadly, the uninformed voters voted on their feelings and not on reality. All was nothing more than wishful thinking with a candidate in the right spot at the right time. The alternative was not a real choice.


David Weigel
Comment posted September 14, 2009 @ 9:03 pm

Good point, Tom, but the PKers weren't exclusively political conservatives. My Obama-voting dad was a PKer.


wayoutwest
Comment posted September 14, 2009 @ 11:09 pm

I thought the qualifications for POTUS were Natural Born Citizen and 35 years old. Ronnie Raygun was a bad B actor, we really wanted John Wayne but he was dead. Dubya was a coke head simpleton and required Dick Darkside to tell him what to do.

I'll bet Larry voted for both of them and still thinks they were great leaders. People like him can't tolerate a real articulate educated leader from the Other side.


aravir
Comment posted September 15, 2009 @ 1:59 pm

The crowd for the opening of the Museum of the American Indian, in 2004 was 80,000. This looks about equivalent. ABC's estimate of 60-70000 seems eminently reasonable.


paul2u2
Comment posted September 20, 2009 @ 2:13 am

Yeah good word here


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Comment posted June 5, 2010 @ 1:27 am

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Comment posted September 8, 2010 @ 2:03 am

Kibbe has walked that number back, crediting the mistake to misinformation on Twitter, and that leaves ABC’s estimate of 60,000 to 70,000 protesters as the one that most media are using.


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Comment posted November 30, 2010 @ 7:34 am

This looks about equivalent. ABC’s estimate of 60-70000 seems eminently reasonable.


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