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Below is a VERY long (but far from comprehensive) list of crowd size estimates at today’s Tea Party protests across the country. I’ve tried to take estimates provided by reporters or police officials only, rather than estimates provided by the organizers or attendees themselves, although surely this is an imperfect science. I’ve also tried to avoid taking any data from explicitly partisan (including left-leaning partisan) news sources. Collectively, these reports account for an attendance of 111,899.

Denver, CO – 5,000
Olympia, WA – 4,500 (average of two estimates)
Oklahoma City, OK – 4,000
Lansing, MI – 4,000
Vero Beach, FL – 3,500
Sacramento, CA – 3,500 (average of two estimates)
Columbia, SC – 3,300
Tulsa, OK – 3,200
Hartford, CT – 3,000
Sioux Falls, SD – 3,000
Naples, FL – 3,000 (two events)
Annapolis, MD – 2,750 (average of two estimates)
Boise, ID – 2,500
Chattanooga, TN – 2,000
Stuart, FL – 2,000
Cincinnati, OH – 2,000
Tucson, AZ – 2,000
Huntsville, AL – 2,000
Des Monies, IA – 2,000 (average of two estimates)
Troy, MI – 2,000
Carson City, NV – 2,000
Augusta, GA – 1,700
Austin, TX – 1,500
Salem, OR – 1,500 (average of two estimates)
Wheeling, WV – 1,200
Washington, DC – 1,000
Fort Collins, CO – 1,000
Kansas City, MO – 1,000
Baxter, AR – 1,000
Lisle, IL – 1,000
Plymouth, MI – 1,000
Des Moines, IA – 1,000
Mobile, AL – 1,000
Ocala, FL – 1,000
West Palm Beach, FL – 1,000
Salt Lake City, UT – 1,000
Greensboro, NC 1,000
New Haven, CT – 1,000
Montgomery, AL – 1,000
Natrona, WY – 1,000
Albany, NY – 1,000
Loveland, CO – 1,000
Ventura, CA – 1,000
Wichita, KS – 1,000
Fresno, CA – 1,000
Joplin, MO – 1,000
Baton Rouge, LA – 1,000
Gilbert, AZ – 900
Winston-Salem, NC – 900
Abilene, TX – 800
Wichita Falls, TX – 800
Virginia Beach, VA – 650
Morristown, NJ – 600 (average of three estimates)
Yakima, WA – 600
Charleston, WV – 550 (average of two estimates)
Billings, MT – 500
Piscataway, NJ – 500
Port St. Lucie, FL – 500
Boston, MA – 500
Corpus Christi, TX – 500
Santa Rosa, CA – 500
Naperville, IL – 500
Southlake, TX – 500
Duluth, MN – 500
Missoula, MT – 500
Fort Smith, AR – 500
Springfield, IL – 400
Livonia, MI – 400
Champaign, IL – 400
Elba, AL – 400
Valdosta, GA – 400
Syracuse, NY – 400
Modesto, CA – 400
Chillicothe, OH – 400
Bethlehem, PA – 300
Friendswood, TX – 300
Camdenton, MO – 300
Cheyenne, WY – 300
Joliet, IL – 300
Massapequa, NY – 300
Goldsboro, NC – 300
Ashtabula, OH – 275
Chelsea, MI – 250
Glendale, CA – 250
Hannibal, MO – 200
Seguin, TX – 200
Rockford, IL – 200
Flemington, NJ – 200
Palmer Township, PA – 200
Ann Arbor, MI – 200
Youngstown, OH – 200
Fayetteville, GA – 200
Scranton, PA – 200
Rowlett, TX – 200
Dekalb, AL – 200
Cody, WY – 200
Ada, OK – 200
Superior, WI – 200
Philadelphia, PA – 200
Buffalo, NY – 150
Baltimore, MD – 150
Kalispell, MT – 150
Omaha, NE – 150
Council Bluffs, NE – 150
Albany, OR – 140
Camden, NY – 100
Evansville, IN – 100
Oak Harbor, WA – 100
Meridian, MS – 100
Cedar Rapids, IA – 100
Gastonia, NC – 100
Bristol, TN – 100
Greenville, TN – 100
Shelton, CT – 100
Plattsburgh, NY – 100
Milwaukee, WI – 80
Chester, NY – 80
Newark, NJ – 50
Napa, CA – 50
North Platte, NE – 50
Frisco, CO – 50
Pataskala, OH – 30
Green Cove Springs, FL – 30
Lake City, WA – 24
Bound Book, NJ – 20
Lincoln, NE – 20

Are these figures impressive? I’d say they’re reasonably impressive. Then again, 111,899 isn’t much more than the number who attend a typical University of Michigan football game or who attended a single Barack Obama rally in Portland, Oregon last year.

But, the list is far from complete. This covers 126 rallies, whereas the most common figure I’ve seen is that there were about 750 such protests nationwide — about six times more than we’ve accounted for.

So, can we simply multiply the estimate by six to estimate the overall number of attendees across the country, which would imply that about 670,000 tea-baggers?

That strikes me as pretty bad idea, because there is a statistical bias in which rallies are reported upon — more successful rallies in larger areas are liable to draw more reporters, and thereby show up in news feeds, etc. Although there are a few large rallies (Atlanta, for example) where there aren’t yet hard numbers to account for, I’d imagine that most of the “missing” protests in the long tail drew relatively small numbers — 20, 50, 100, 200 people. My hunch is that the overall attendance figure nationwide is probably something like 250,000, but that’s just a guess.

The other weird thing about these numbers is how little correlation there seems to be between the size of the rally and the size of that city’s population — the Olympia, Washington event drew about 20 times more people than Philadelphia’s; twice as many showed up in Baxter, Arkansas as in Boston. These rallies appear to be drawing disproportionately from rural areas, which is one reason why, although the cumulative attendance figure is impressive, there doesn’t appear to have been any one single place where the protesters gathered (say) 15,000 people together.

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