Sep 13 2009
I have been doing some research analyzing photos and crowd data to try and ascertain the crowd size of the 9/12/09 Tea Party protests (which I blogged on here). It seems the best, most recent reference point is President Obama’s inauguration, which was estimated at 1.8-2.0 million people. If you look at the pictures from last January’s Inauguration it looks at first glance like the Obama crowds dwarfed the Tea Party crowds.
The Tea Party Crowds did not extend back the Washington Monument (there were other events on the Mall yesterday). On the flip side, the inauguration is a controlled, seated event. It has a uniform density of people sitting in chairs spread out on the mall. Here is a map showing the areas and capacity of people for inaugurations using an aerial view of the Mall:
(H/T Moderate Middle) What is clear in the inauguration model is that people are restricted in their movements and are assigned locations with specific capacity numbers. Now look at the Tea Party Pics, especially around the reflecting pool which shows a capacity of 240,000 in the inauguration model.
These two great shots (from someone willing and able to climb a light pole) show how there is no consistent density as with the laid out seating of an inauguration. Moreover, if you look at the inauguration model, the crowd does not spill out into the streets on the side, up the hill on the sides, etc. It also doesn’t go under the trees on each side of the Mall. The Tea Party crowds were thick through all these areas.
In my opinion the crowd was over 1 million. Maybe well over 1 million. But it is hard to compare a crowd in evenly spaced seats in a much more restricted lay out to a crowd of varying density spilling out into every crevice and corner in front of the Capitol. Given the high density and greater extent of taking over the open ground I think it is very possible the unadvertised Tea Party without any big name draws competed well with the largest inauguration crowd in recent memory.
It easily surpassed the inauguration crowds of all the other Presidents in recent memory. And that is saying something.
Update: Hopefully this answers Allah Pundit’s queries.
Update: Another good picture showing how the crowds are much more compact than during inaugurations:
Note how far people expanded left and right into the trees up to the Capitol building itself. I walked this part of the crowd and it was packed.
Update: This is a great collection of photos, and notice how dense the crowd is out into the distance of each and every one. It was a huge crowd. It was a respectful crowd. It was an intense crowd. The media and liberals can only down play this by denying the gathering storm is coming.