Thursday, April 15, 2010

MASSIVE Drop in Attendance at Madison Tea Party Compared to Last Year!

Actual photographic count shows that the 2010 Madison Tax Day Tea Party rally was only ONE-THIRD as big as 2009!

Despite the perfect weather, attendance at this year's Madison Tea Party was FAR lower than last year. Based on an actual photographic count, there were only 2,600 people at the event earlier today, compared to 8,000 in 2009. One-third the size of last year! This is a massive drop, and it indicates that both the size and the influence of the the Wisconsin Tea Party are rapidly declining.

Below is a picture showing the actual crowd count from today's Tea Party rally, with a red dot placed on every visible head. Click on it for a much larger image. It was taken at 12:15 PM, about 45 minutes into the rally, when the crowd was at its peak. There are 1,972 people visible in the picture, but the actual attendance was higher because some folks are obscured by other people or objects in front of them, and the picture cuts off the edge of the crowd, particularly on the left side. Perhaps somewhat generously I estimate that I missed one person for every two or three I counted, meaning that the actual crowd size was 2,600 to 3,000. I have similar pictures taken from other high vantage points around the event, and they are all consistent with this estimate. Public claims by Americans for Prosperity and other event sponsors that attendance was 12,000 are simply ludicrous, if not outright lies.

Much more to come from the Madison Tea Party, including some great pictures and audio. Stay tuned!


Northwoods said...

Great analysis! However, I read in this morning's Wisconsin State Journal that the Capitol Police estimated the crowd to be 4,500. Still a far cry from 12,000, but do you have any idea how the Capitol Police came up with their number?

Russell said...

The Capital Police appear to have used a standard geometric method to calculate the crowd size. This is quick and easy, and works fairly well for large homogeneous crowds, but has problems with smaller and less dense crowds. Counting heads, as I did, is always more accurate provided you can get a good overhead shot and the crowd is small enough to make it practical.

Anonymous said...

It's "Capitol" Police, not "Capital". Not that you'd know anything about Capitalism. It's Marxists like you that are destroying America, but we are not going to let that happen! I was at the rally last year and their were definately more people this year. OF COURSE the Capitol Police would lie about the numbers! They work for JIM DOYLE!!! said...

This is a great post. These exagerated claims are in sync with the hyperbolic press release from Rally Organizer Mark Block:

Tax Day Tea Party rally planned for State Capitol 4/12/2010
By BILL NOVAK | The Capital Times

"The enormous growth of activists from all across the state exemplifies the mood across the country," Mark Block, state director of Americans for Prosperity, said in a release announcing the Tax Day Tea Party rally.

"We are highlighting local leaders from communities all across the state, as they are the ones who have helped to mobilize an army of individuals who will no longer sit back and let government trample their rights and destroy their economic futures," Block said.

They are banking on the idea that "if you say it enough, people will believe it".

Russell said...

Thanks for catching my English error, Anon. I'm basically just an illiterate engineer, although I'd say we're pretty evenly matched on the grammatical front.

As for being a Marxist and knowing nothing about capitalism, well, that's a little hard to square with the fact that I've been a self-employed small business owner for twenty years.

To your larger point about crowd size, I'm happy to provide you, or anyone else for that matter, a full set of high resolution crowd pictures so that you can prove me wrong. Just be sure to click on the picture in the post and take a good look at it before you decide to challenge me. Might save you a little embarrassment.

The number I used for last year's crowd, 8,000, isn't actually accurate. It came from Mark Block at AFP, and just like AFP's claims about yesterday's rally, it's hugely inflated. Block is in a class by himself when it comes to pulling numbers out of his ass!

But AFP and the other sponsoring groups have put themselves in a bit of a bind. They can't attack this post in any meaningful way without essentially admitting that they've been cooking the attendance numbers at Tea Party events all along. I predict a lot of silence from them on this issue.

Anyway, actual attendance at last year's Madison Tea Party was between 3,500 to 4,000, again based on counting heads in crowd pictures. Clearly higher than this year, although not by as much as I implied.

Delilah said...

Conservative blogger and UW-Madison Law Professor Ann Althouse blogged today that she estimated the Tea Party Rally crowd at around 2,000.

Russell said...

Good to hear that Althouse more or less agrees with me, although 2,000 is certainly a bit low. I'll have to check when she posted her numbers to see if it was after WisOpinion picked up this post.

I'd Rather be at Wolski's said...

Great photo! The Shepherd Express did an excellent story on what a phony Republican front group Americans for Prosperity is. Reminds me of the slimy Swiftboat Veterans for Truth. Lots of good info in the article:

Who's Hosting the Tea Party

Teacher in Cheeseland said...

During the live feed of Palin's speech, booing couldn't be heard,cameras didn't pan to the side enough to show many protestors, and it seemed like a lot of pro-Palin/Walker forces. It's nice to know that, too, was a lie.

Consultoria por internet said...

Very interesting post