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  • Metro Delivers Hundreds of Thousands to 9/12 Rally

    Much has been made over the attendance at the march and rally in DC on September 12. Reports varied, with many on the left clinging to an unofficial DC Fire Department estimate of 60,000 to 70,000. Some reports from overseas went as far as to say two million.  However, one completely objective source of information is the number of people who rode Metro, Washington, DC’s mass transit subway system. Washington Metro measures and releases its ridership numbers and these numbers have been used in the past to judge the size of major events in Washington, DC.

    For a fair comparison, we looked at the Saturday after Labor Day in 2008, which is when September 12 fell in 2009. On September 12, 2009, 437,624 rode metro rail. By comparison, on the Saturday after Labor Day in 2008, 202,528 rode. The difference is 235,096.  Even if nobody else came to the March, and we know they did by chartered bus and by carpool, the theory that only 70,000 people were there is off by roughly 335% – debunking the 70,000 claim. To take it a step further for comparison, we also looked at the attendance for President Obama’s Inauguration in January 2009. Convential wisdom estimates that attendance for the inaugural was between 800,000 and 1.8 million, or an average of 1.3 million.

    If you compare Metro riders on Martin Luther King Day 2008, the similarly situated federal holiday in January to the Inauguration in 2009, approximately 975,000 additional people rode metro for the Inauguration. If you compare 975,000 additional metro riders as a percentage of the 1.3 million total who attended and you do the same for 235,000 additional metro riders for the 9/12 March, than at least 313,000 went downtown for the explicit purpose of marching against out-of-control government spending on September 12. This assumes a similar percentage of attendees took buses, cabs, drove in, walked, etc.

    If you believe the number was 1.8 million at the Inauguration and you do the same for 9/12, then the number is 433,000. So is an estimate of 313,000 to 433,000 attendees accurate? Well, it is certainly an unbiased and impartial start to understanding the debate over crowd size. The bottom line is that hundreds of thousands of Americans who were upset with government spending, a failed stimulus, a government takeover of health care, and a massive energy tax came with their parents, children, grandparents, cousins, college roommates, etc. to a multi-generational and peaceful family protest in Washington.

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    76 Responses to Metro Delivers Hundreds of Thousands to 9/12 Rally

    1. John - NY says:

      Certainly seems logical to me. Accounting for the increase in Metro traffic is a good place to start when estimating the crowd. As mentioned, that does not necessarily consider all those who drove, car pooled, bus pooled, etc. The aerial shots looked to show a crowd far larger than 60-70k.

    2. Wallace, DC says:

      Don't you need to divide by two?

    3. Kenneth Happel, Vist says:

      I was the medical coordinator for the event. I believe that there were at least a million people there and a million and a half would be my best bet.


      I don't know where the "official estimate" quoted as 60,000 comes from. The event permit, and Chief Lyles fire department resource allocation, was based upon 50,000 (because we couldn't prove more beforehand)and that number of people was supposed to be contained in the central section of the west lawn between the sidewalks extending from the freedom and grant statues.


      I counted the crowd entering Penn. Ave. to determine how many first aid team people were needed and where. I made my count at Freedom Plaza after the police radio had indicated that the front of the march had reached Capital Circle. I used the following method. We counted the number of people stretching across Penn. Ave. from curb to curb for a distance down the street of ten feet. That number was divided in half (assuming that there were variations in how tightly people were packed)and multiplied by the number of ten foot intervals from Freedom Park to Capitol Circle. At 8:00 the count was 200,000. I inserted a medical team at that point and when it reached Capitol Circle the whole avenue had filled again and I inserted my team. So at about 9:30 the total attendance from the march was, conservatively, about 400,000. The avenue continued to pumo in people fopr another two hours. So I estimate about 600,000 came through that route.


      There was also a very large stream that filled the whole street from the train station to Capitol circle and people that came on the underground said that it was simply packed with people coming out at the protest site (both these flows were not part of the march).


      The National Park Service published its estimating method in USA Today, when they provided an estimate for President Obama's inaguration. That method estimates by filled area.

      The west lawn (all three sections were filled solid with little space between people)the shoulders around the building and the area directly around the reflecting pool is 240,000 by the NPS estimating method. The mall from the reflecting pool to the cross street before the Washington Monument is 940,000 according to the NPS. The first section of the mall nearest the Washingon Monument was reserved for the NAACP's Family event. Our folks, at the height of the event, stretched from the cross street before the NAACP event all the way to the relfecting pool and were packed. I would guess that its 4/5 of the 940,000 or 750,000 people together that's a million. Then there was the area from first street to third street (third street goes to the train station). First street was so crowded the police had to clear it. The crowd also filled most of the area around and between the museums on each side, with the greatest density in the half of the mall nearest the reflecting pool. You could easily add another half million with these two areas.


      That's how I came to an estimate of one to one and a half million.

      Under no possible stretch of the imagination or should I say contraction of the imagination were there only 60,000. To see crowd outline on the National Park Service estimator go to my facebook page "kenneth happel" and look at the photos.

    4. Pingback: Plain Punditry » How Many People Attended the 9/12 Protest?

    5. Bobbie Jay says:

      Sure is challenging working with derelict government!

      Stay strong America. Keep the faith and don't let government infiltrate and violate personal right and ability to think for ourselves! They mix lies with truths to manipulate and confuse.

    6. John Sheehan, Philly says:

      Thanks for the great analysis.

      Here are my tweaks for you to consider. My guess is that the Pres. Obama inauguration would have had a much higher Metro rail use than our 9/12/09 protest due to more inaugural guests staying in greater DC at hotels for a longer period of time, say a few days, vs. more day-trippers to our march who drove in large numbers from surrounding states. Therefore, instead of using a 33% add-on for the non-Metro riders, I would use a judgment call of, say, 50% to add to the 235,000 increase in Metro riders for a total of 350,000.

      Best case would be to have an analyst look at the time-lapse video from the building overlooking Freedom Plaza, sample the data, and add some adjustment for those who joined the crowd from other entry points.

      I find the lack of hard news reporting incredible. A fairly reliable estimate should have been part of the major news headline. Where are the reporters who used to call "unnamed officials" who were in the know to get at basic information.

      One insight that should give all of us some satisfaction is that Pres. Obama and his top political staff along with elected Congress people now know what they are up against. They would have received the best info available about our actual numbers, and they know that we are strong.

    7. Tom Bruner, CA says:

      56 signed the Declaration of Independence. Sometimes it isn't the size of the crowd that matters so much, but rather the motivation behind the gathering.

    8. Susan, Midland says:

      I don't think the organizers expected so many to show up. From inadequate permits, porta-potties and sound system to the lack of street barricades and late-arriving police, things appeared to be set up for a much smaller crowd.

      One odd thing was the missing media: there were no circling helicopters or vans with satalite uplinks as far as I could tell. I walked the parade route, and then pretty continuously around the capitol steps and east mall area from 10:30 am to 4:30 pm, and only saw two reporters from Germany and one hand-held camera team/reporter the whole time.

      Perhaps if there had been even one aerial shot of the assembled crowd, this question wouldn't be so controversial. It's the media's job to accurately report events as they happen. Where were they? Besides, it would have been nice if they had caught how extraordinarily clean the site was when the rally was over.

    9. Timothy, NY says:

      Wow thats sad numbers for for you "Tea Party" folks. By the way I'm pretty sure the origional tea party atendees didn't purchase the tea from your local grocer. They stole it off the damn boat and ruined it! Its not like you republicans representatives are apposed to illegal acts!

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    11. Timothy, NY says:

      What conservatives are calling "Tea parties" is an absolute slap in the face to the origional American Tea Party. Give credit where credit is due! The tea party was a revolutionary event, not just a political dislike for an opponent. Origionaly there was no purchasing of tea-bags to symbolically toss on the white house lawn. If you want a revolutionary event like the past… get more people on your side. Right now you don't have the numbers. -Cheers from the ACLU

    12. CB, Springfield Va says:

      I'd also note that the annual Black Family Reunion was held on the Mall on the 12th & 13th. That is a large Metro ridership event (particularly the red and green lines.) You might be able to increase your accuracy by getting the ridership numbers for those lines and comparing to the 2008 date.

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    14. Alan Pitts, Minneapo says:

      Considering that most at this protest have jobs and more than likely came by car, and the inauguration crowd was largely the nonworking who would need public transportation paid for by the protesters at this rally, I would lean toward the million mark.

    15. Meg, Annapolis,MD says:

      Metro opened up gates without charging metro tickets on Orange Line because station was so crowded. People had trouble getting off standing room only trains because platform was jammed. This would decidedly change ridership numbers. Count needs to include Washington bound bus charters, parking garages and hotel occupancy rates.

      Regardless of how many attended, youtube is jammed with on site videos so once again MSM comments are irrelevant! They missed the story before and are trying to spin it afterwards.

    16. Judy Czuba, Connecti says:

      All this proves, once again, is that the left cannot be honest about anything, including policy or news reporting. They constantly try to load the dice in their favor because they know the truth is on the side of common sense Americans like the tea party attendees, who are exactly like our early American Revolution tea party participants: they were protesting "Taxation Without Representation," among many other things. Just like today.

    17. Walt, North Carolina says:

      Kenneth Happel's comment and estimate above is very compelling. To those just looking at the crowd photos I was there with my wife and 2 teenagers. We marched down Pa. Ave then listened to the warm up speeches but started leaving the cheek to cheek crowd at 1pm. There seemed to be quite a few leaving, but there was an equal number pushing through that were just arriving. It was a constantly moving throng of people.

    18. Debbie Tooele, Utah says:

      On 9/12 I was very proud of all my fellow Americans, who were able to be at the march on Washington. My husband is retired, and I am on permenant disability. We were unable to attend, and disappointed to say the least. This was an event, that made you feel that you had missed something historic and meaningful. It is "icing-on-the-cake", if you will, the highly probable numbers of the crowd. The online petitions that I sign have the following as an addition to or a subject line: LISTEN, DO YOU HEAR THAT SOUND..IT'S THE SILENT MAJORITY SPEAKING….IF YOU CHOSE TO IGNORE IT TODAY… THERE WILL BE A DAY YOU WILL ULTIMATELY HEAR IT CLEARLY – - NOVEMBER 2010….

      Keep on moving forward dear "silent majority", moving where some of us may not be able to follow, but always remembering, we are here to help where we can….in our local cities, towns and rural communities. Making our presence known and our voices heard here in our "grass roots".

      Sincerely, A Christian wife, mother, and grandmother who has passed and is passing on her patriotism (along with her husband of course) to our children, grandchildren. Sharing it with neighbors and friends. God Bless this nation, may she come to her senses, and fall to her knees, realizing the error of her ways. "In God We Trust"

    19. Bernard R. People&# says:

      Timothy, NY (Of COURSE!!!) from the ACLU (alledgedly):

      We are not Revolutionaries, unlike the ACLU, but when we become Revolutionaries, believe ME, YOU at the ACLU will be the FIRST to KNOW!

      Many of the Tea Party folks rode in by bus or train from nearby states (like myself), while other folks flew in from distant states, rented a car and joined the folks who drove their own vehicles towards D.C. and stayed on the perimeter of the Capital until 9/12.

      Metro stats are not a fair comparison to indicate the size of a crowd, because many of the Tea Paty people stayed at nice hotels within range of the March and actually paid cab fare to get to Freedom Plaza, thereby avoiding Metro, and the many of the Tea Party protesters were dropped off at Union Station and walked over to Freedom Plaza to begin the March.

      On the other hand, the Obama inauguration contingent were most likely residents of D.C. (the place that voted 93% FOR OBAMA)



      and either walked to the Capital or are frequent patronizers of public transportation, such as Metro, which explains the extra 975,000 Metro riders on Inauguration Day.

      Yes, liberals, the media reports "tens of thousands" of protesters, and in usual media half-truth terms, that is factual, except that the REAL count was "tens of thousands" multiplied by 150!

    20. Paul Terry Stone says:

      Kenneth Happel has reason to be accurate because of professional experience that is necessarily objective because of his work. Thank you for an objective analysis of the size of crowd present.

    21. Jeanne Stotler, wood says:

      This administration is like an ostrich with it's head in the sand, they don't want to see or hear anything that is against their programs. The news agencies, NBC, ABC and CBS are all bias. Where did true news reporting Go?? Regardless of those who think they are intitled to free health care, housing, and anything else they want, we are a DEmocrcy and WE CAN VOTE these people out.

    22. Grace, Florida says:

      Finally a good analysis. No matter how you cut it there were allot of people protesting the size and scope of big government. I think the politicians know what to expect in the 2010 elections if we are not listened to. They have a decision to make – we've already made ours!

    23. RA, Wilmington NC says:

      The attendance number is not the only thing skewed by the national media, but also the the reason behind the march. One network news outlet last night quoted Jimmy Carter, who is definitely not an unbiased observer, saying that the people who marched were racially motivated. Where was the interview of a person with a view different from Carter's … say Micheal Steel … explaining the reason for the outrage. Carter's quote seemed to be presented as absolute fact. The traditional media outlets should not wonder why they are not trusted after they have turned into the mouth piece of the socialistic agenda. The liberal democrats are trying to force socialism down our throats, and if throwing the race card will discredit the opposition in the eyes of some, then they will do it early and often.

    24. ronaldo, Vermont says:

      The National Park Service stopped giving "official estimates" after The Nation of Islam's "Million Man March" was estimated to be nowhere near that (around 300-400 thousand).

      The NPS was intimidated into not giving any more estimates.

      Interestingly, comparable aerial photos showed that the Promise Keepers (Christian Men) event on the mall a year or two later, clearly drew substantially many more.

      Both the Promise Keepers and Farrakhan's March received tons of media coverage.

      The main stream media (MSM) is so in the tank for big government, it's appalling.

    25. Maria, NC says:

      Interesting approximations, but the true numbers will be told during the next four elections. Those people plus all other like minded will happily march to the election sites and be counted. Then our roller coaster government may begin to improve again just as it did in 1980 and 1994. Socialism has never worked, and it is tragic that half of America keeps forgetting history and has to learn it firsthand, repeatedly.

    26. Normca says:

      The ACLU does not know to count anyway [or spell, I guess]. And the ACLU will never understand what Americans are all about. It isn't Obama, as the opponent. It is the intrusion into our lives that we do not like. It is the reckless spending of money that will have to be paid back, by other than the present people in power. I thought the ACLU was for individual rights. Oh wait; the ACLU is for democrats' rights, not Republican voters or Republican adminstrations. The ACLU picks its spots, based on ideology and not human rights. Go back and read the Bill of Rights, while your hatred for The American Way festers.

    27. Normca says:

      The ACLU does not know to count anyway [or spell, I guess]. And the ACLU will never understand what Americans are all about. It isn't Obama, as the opponent. It is the intrusion into our lives that we do not like. It is the reckless spending of money that will have to be paid back, by other than the present people in power. I thought the ACLU was for individual rights. Oh wait; the ACLU is for democrats' rights, not Republican voters or Republican administrations. The ACLU picks its spots, based on ideology and not human rights.

    28. G-Man, Chesapeake, V says:

      Yep…there were a lot of us! It was great to be a part of that historic event…let's have more!


      Chesapeake, VA

    29. Jeannetta OR says:

      Timothy from NY, you have no idea the actual numbers on "our side." Wake up and smell the tea my friend, the revolution is brewing, and the tides that will turn will be so massive, you won't be able to find what's left of your brain.

      I think these numbers are a good estimate, better than the MSM's sorry attempts to downplay the waking giant.

    30. Tassie McLennan La P says:

      I was there! Lots of good and decent Americans with whom I was so proud to bump shoulders with all day long. The count does not matter so much…other than the liberal media spin….what matters is WE ARE RAISING OUR VOICES AND "THEY" HAD BETTER LISTEN….2010 elections are not far off.

    31. philip says:

      Yes, it's time to get off the bench and into the game! Let's keep the pressure up and take our message to the street. Using our passion for American Ideals of Independence, self-reliance and Freedom we can win the debate. Good tools can be found here: wethepeoplebelieveagain.org

    32. Matt, Arlington VA says:

      For a supposedly "cool, techno-savvy" administration, it is surprising that it believes its media surrogates can suppress the true crowd numbers when YouTube and other internet-based outlets are flooded with video proving the immense size of the event. President Obama, as he has stated in public, does not want to hear from anyone opposed to his anti-democratic policies, and apparently is unwilling to accept the reality that opposition to his radical agenda is growing with each passing day. The "mainstream" media's shameful abdication of its responsibilities, and deliberate misinformation, only will hasten its descent into irrelevancy. Sticking your head in the sand won't work Mr. President, and the truth will always come out, no matter what your media friends "report."

    33. Jon, KS says:

      I recorded all the local channels news coverage and CNN and MSNBC to see what they said about the Tea Party. Every channel, except FOX, said exactly the same thing word for word. They probably even recorded it sometime last week! Pretty sad that they are all in bed together and that none of them are reporting truth or facts anymore. It is either a pep rally for BO, a display of alleged racism by a conservative or local doom and gloom.

      I found it interesting that reports from England had the crowds estimated as high as 2.5 to 3 million people. I would say that based on all the footage and aerial photos that the 1.5-2 million estimate is most likely accurate. Also, don't forget the hundreds that protested that day in MN where BO was reading.

    34. Linda Carlsbad, CA says:

      All the American People marched on Washington on 9/12/09. Here today Baucus is on TV trying to cram his health care bill down our throats. He's saying he's going to tax the insurance companies more. Well who does he think will pay the new tax on them? Of course the American People. How stupid do they think we are? They are stealing us blind!

    35. Jerry from Chicago says:

      I for one hope that our Democrat friends and their media lap dogs keep underestimating the rest of us. If they want to say there were only a few thousand people at the 9/12 rally in D.C., let them. The people who were there know the truth. We, who would have liked to attend but couldn't, saw the crowds on Fox News. We know that as some of the crowd left they were replaced by others newly arriving. We have a fairly good idea of how many were there. We also know that for every person we saw, there were thousands who felt the same way and who would have liked to be there but couldn't to make the trip.

      Apparently, the NY times, Washington Post, Newsweek, CNN, MSNBC, CBS, ABC and NBC didn't think there was enough there to cover. And why would these worthy news(?) organizations want to cover an event composed of a few racists, right-wing extremeists, neo-Nazis, Brown shirts and un-American eveil-mongers who are all in the pay of Fox News?

    36. philip says:

      Yes, it's time to get off the bench and into the game! Let's keep the pressure up and take our message to the street. Using our passion for American Ideals of Independence, self-reliance and Freedom we can win the debate. Good tools can be found here: wethepeoplebelieveagain dot org

    37. Lynn B. DeSpain says:

      Our own Nation will never give a good account of the actual numbers attending the 'Tea Parties' around our Nation. Neither did England during the first ones either! Remember, enemies do not report facts.


    38. JP says:

      Heritage, you forgot one thing: NO ONE RIDES TRANSIT. You said so yourself: http://www.heritage.org/Research/SmartGrowth/wm21

    39. Bill San Antonio TX says:

      Let's not forget our moderate Democratic friends. They are just as disgusted with this as conservatives. It is the measure of a person's character to admit when one makes a mistake. More and more of our democratic friends are seeing this for what it is. We need ALL Americans to stand up, once and for all, against the corruption and the fraud.

      What is happening transcends political parties. We are talking about the raping of America's wealth. We are talking about the extremist left wingers who have stooped to the ugly level of race-baiting. This means they are really worried.

      Of course, this ugly tactic will not work. ALL Americans except the leftists are sick of this stuff.

      Now is the time to keep the pressure on until they listen. We will not stand by and watch our country financially and economically pillaged and looted for the sake of change.

      The corruption is the lynchpin and we have to vote the scoundrels out. Watch them and take action in the elections.

    40. Rory, Tampa Florida says:

      I was there and yes it was a massive crowed. I think the size of the crowed was more told by the senate vote monday night to stop the housing fund of acorn 88 to 7. The capital and the white house does not wach fox news ( who are the only ones reporting the acorn videos) and payed no attention to the crowed sure put together an almost unanimus vote to kick out acorn. Had that crowed been 50,000 those guys would not have been worried and voted to keep there special intrest thugs by there side but self preservation directed there vote to leave the money behind and go with the crowd!

    41. Buck from Greenville says:

      I was there and was amazed at the number of people but again, very pleased at the conduct of all individuals that I observed. This was only the second "protest" that I had participated in considering the April 15 event in Dayton. The lack of porta potties was a bit disappointing because I had to walk from the edge of the reflecting pool to the Smithsonian to find relief. I heard everything but could not understand a word.

      One outstanding observation was a retired special services master Sargent and his wife policing their areas as they left. It was humorous to see large trash containers filled to overflowing and that overflow very neatly separated and piled next to the container.

      Every retired service man or woman that I saw was proud to be a part of this event.


    42. Rosemary, Ct. says:

      Whether you were in DC in person or in spirit,send Obama a LETTER to protest his CHANGE personally to:

      White House, 16 Pennsylvania Ave NW,Washington DC 20500 USA.

      If you were there and have a photo, include it.

      Email your representatives,DAILY with your views. Have their addresses in your 'address books' so you can do it simply and regularly. We MUST keep up the pressure.

      It will cost you very little to protest.

      It will cost your children their freedom if you don't.

    43. Flint, Washington, D says:

      Heritage Foundation made an interesting date pick. Let's look at a bit more context.


      8/02: 373,765

      8/09: 361,213

      8/16: 381,240

      8/23: 318,784

      8/30: 335,945

      9/01: Labor Day

      9/06: 202,528

      9/13: 362,773

      9/20: 360,571

      9/27: 339,213


      8/01: 364,241

      8/08: 354,662

      8/15: 337,070

      8/22: 293,200

      8/29: 303,997

      9/05: 300,063

      9/07: Labor Day

      9/12: 437,624

      9/19: ?

      9/26: ?

      9/06/08 is a week earlier in the year than 9/12/09.

      9/06/08 had 202,528 riders (the low point out of 9 Saturdays)

      9/13/08 had 362,000 riders

      9/12/09 had 437,624 riders

      The difference between 9/12/09 and 9/13/08 is 75,624. That matches the Fire Department estimate for the protest.

      Heritage Foundation cherry picked a metro ridership date that would make 9/12/09 seem most impressive. If they had compared 9/13/08, 9/20/08 or 8/30/08 it would have seen much less impressive. It is also less impressive compared to 9/05/09 and 8/29/09.

      Heritage Foundation trying to compare Metro ridership for the Inauguration to 9/21/09 is also a bit erroneous. The Inauguration was the busiest day in WMATA history. Ridership went beyond the load the system was built for. 9/12/09 is like half of a regular weekday commute. Because WMATA was overwhelmed for the Inauguration, there was a lot more busing, car pooling and many DC area residents simply walked. From the photographs of 9/12/09, it appears very few of DC's black majority populace attended.

      However, if you use the formula Heritage Foundation made up of WMATA ridership being 75% of protest total, if you use the 9/12/09 difference from 9/13/08, you get: 100,832.

    44. Brian, Chestnut Hill says:

      With all the discussion over audience size the real message to me is this. Let the left ignore the outrage of the American people at their own political peril. Time passes quickly and 2010 is just around the corner. Support and vote for conservative candidates and the story will be told at the polls!

    45. Corey, NJ says:

      I think a better comparison is to look at photo's from the Million Man March and compare them to 9/12. They are at least equal with the 9/12erz seemingly more densely packed it. Offical estimates for the MMM start at 450k so I think it is easy and accurate to say that there were at least a 1/2 million people there.

      A 1/2 million "angry racists" that the media in effect ignored… Sad.


    46. Mark Kelly says:

      Flint – No analysis is perfect, but it seems perfectly fair to compare the Saturdays after Labor Day. Granted, if Metro published the previous 3 years, we could take an average and look at the trend of Metro usage on the Saturdays immediately after Labor Day.

      Actually, if you look closely at the stats you cited, ridership was down every Saturday previous to Labor Day in 2009 versus 2008 by as much as 10%. So, there's an equally good chance there were actually more people who rode Metro in just for the 9.12 events.

      As for comparing 9.12 to the Inauguration, you make a fair point that a great deal of DC residents walked. However, all of the bridges coming into the city were closed for the Inauguration except to buses. So, more people coming to the 9.12 event could actually drive their cars into DC, not so on Inauguration Day.

    47. Don, Seattle says:

      I'm not getting the math. Are the figures fares, not riders? So the increase of 235,000 needs to be divided by two. That's over 118,000, but the figure of 202,000 as a benchmark seems low, if you look historically at weekend traffic. Some weekends are 350,000, some are 200,000, and some are 250,000.

      Generously, this seems to give some support for an attendance of well over 100,000 or maybe 200,000, which is an impressive showing. But you can argue pretty legitimately that it was far less, too. No one know – except that the estimates of 1 million, 2 million, or even 500,000 appear to be fantasies.


      I cannot believe that in America, things have got to the point it is today.. Television stations do what they are told to do…told what to report, and what to say.. What has happened to the American Christian way of life?? I do agree that the Democrats are admitting they made a mistake..shame they didn't realize it before election day..Hopefully we can clean out some of the mess in 2010..and the rest in 2012.

    49. K Hainley, Big Raqpi says:

      Wonderful, wonderful – but what now?

    50. Pingback: John Petro: Irony Alert: Conservatives ride government-run transit to protest government spending | Obama Biden White House

    51. Pingback: The Tea Party in DC was bigger than the Media will admit «

    52. Lloyd Holm, Butte Fa says:

      The liberal media has totally ignored the hundreds of tea parties that occured around the Nation on the same day! I have heard of no estimates of what that total was. Also,I have heard, but not confirmed that the University of Illinois has estimated the Washington crowd to be 1.7 million based on sophisticated aerial photo estimates. Can I get more info on that?

    53. emjem1963, Washingto says:

      A few problems with your analysis. First, 9-12-09 was not Labor Day weekend. For a good comparison, go to the 2nd Saturday in September, 2008, and you'll see non-holiday ridership is around 360,000. So you have an increase of maybe 80,000 on-way trips.

      That's the second problem – Metro's numbers are 1-way trips. Assuming most people who rode *to* the Mall also rode *back*, then the 80,000 increase = about 40,000 additional riders.

      A third problem is that the Black Family Reunion was on the Mall that day, and that was a huge event. Who knows how much of that ridership was due to that event. I was there & took video, so you can see what the Mall looked like that afternoon:


    54. emjem1963, Washingto says:


      Just read your response to Flint.

      First, comparison ridership. The average of all non Holiday Saturdays in September 2008 is 360,000, so I think that is the best comparison number. I think your trend analysis is pushing the envelope a bit.

      Second – bridges on Inauguration Day – you are incorrect. I was at both events. On 1-20 I walked from Crystal City to the Mall via the 14th Street bridge, which was packed with people. We had to because Metro was so jammed. I took pictures & will send them to you if you don't believe me.

      Finally, since I was at both events I have some perspective. On 1-20 the Mall was jammed, literally standing room only, from the Capital to beyond the Washington Monument. Also, all the side streets were jammed with people. On 9-12, the rally went from the Capitol to where it petered out on 3rd Street. I was there from Noon to 4 PM on the Mall. Don't know about the march part in the AM as I was not there at that time.

    55. Pingback: How many Marchers in DC? | Roanoke Tea Party

    56. U R An Outlier says:

      September 6, 2008 TS Hanna passed directly over DC;


      The WMATA and the entire DC area was directly affected by TS Hanna.

      Therefore, use of a well known statistical outlier (TS Hanna 9-6-2008) can not be used to extrapolate WMATA ridership on 9-12-2009.

      All other WMATA data for that time frame (2008 and 2009) overwhelmingly suggests a background minimum of 300,000.

      The necessary requirement for round trips (dividing by a factor of at least two) have already been mentioned, but just needs further mention as this should have been all to obvious to this blog's author.

    57. diane Washington, DC says:

      How many hours did it take for the crowd to disperse? The inauguration crowd was still dispersing after 2 hours and there were actual people jams at the intersections where people could literally not move. Metro trains could not operate because platforms were too jammed. If the crowd was the same as the inauguration, as some people in this comment section have claimed, wouldn't the same conditions have occurred? There were no people on the actual grass between 3rd and 7th. The area between 7th and 14th was taken up by the tents and activities of the Black family reunion which also was probably providing ridership for the metro on Saturday. Having seen many crowds on the National Mall, I might go as high as 100,000, but that is on the high side.

    58. Linda Peccie, Waxhaw says:

      I was standing next to a fellow who was talking on the phone with a friend of his, working with the DC police. We were standing just across First Street, directly across from the Capitol building. This fellow said that at 12 noon the DC police's official estimate of the crowd was 1,200,000 and the surrounding streets were still packed with people streaming in. There had been at least two helicopters overhead that I noticed. Has anyone checked with the DC police to verify their numbers?

    59. Pingback: » Updates on the 9/12 Tea Party attendance Amorian: Love, Faith and Liberty

    60. Tim, NC says:

      This is an extremely logical, well thought out observation utilizing quantifiable, emotionless DATA. Of course, this will be roundly dismissed by the left as racist mumbo-jumbo. Thanks for the article.

    61. Pingback: Washington DC 9/12 Protest: Revolution Brewing From Sea To Shining Sea «

    62. emjem1963, Washingto says:

      > All other WMATA data for that time frame (2008 and 2009)

      > overwhelmingly suggests a background minimum of 300,000.

      More than that. Saturdays in Fall, 2008:

      9-13 362K

      9-20 360K

      9-27 339K

      10-4 370K

      10-11 399K

      10-18 377K

      Not to mention, Metro ridership has been steadily increasing, so 2009 baseline should be higher than 2008. I think 360K is a reasonable number we can all agree on. This points to an increase of 40,000 round-trip riders. My personal observation was that the Black Family Reunion was a much bigger event on 9-12, so I think it would be generous to assume that 30,000 of those riders were for the protest. Add in another generous 10,000 on buses, cars, walking from hotels, and you end up with the most realistic estimates we already had, maybe 40 or 50 K total.

      I dug up some 1-20 Inauguration Day photos my wife took, since there's been a lot of comparison thrown around.


      Also, somebody was mentioning bridge closings on Inauguration Day. Here are photos she took as we walked across the 14th Street bridge:



      plus more on flickr if you care to browse them.

    63. Carol, Atlanta, GA says:

      We arrived at Freedom Plaza at 8 AM and it was already beginning to fill up area completely and yes, it began to be so tight with people that they HAD to move us toward the capitol at 10:00.. Yes, there may have been some signs that we would not have carried but for the most part all were quite orderly,friendly and polite.

    64. Libertarian says:

      In short-

      Number of Patriots in D.C. at the 9/12 rally: Helluva lot

      Losses for Democrats in 2010: Helluva lot

      The end.


    65. Pingback: Metro Delivers Hundreds of Thousands to 9/12 Rally | Awaken The Sleeping Giant

    66. Harry B says:

      Regardless of the actual number of people attending the rally on 9/12/09, the large number, whether it be 30,000 or 300,000, plus the numerous rallies across the nation speak to the discontent with the "new" direction of the country. The tea-party groups are basically anti-tax groups. This can be extended to include continued usurpation of citizen and states rights by the federal govt.

      How else can you explain the current admin's desire to mandate flu vaccinations using the Commerce clause?

      Reminds me of Stephen King's "The Stand".

    67. Ellie717 says:

      This blog posting is again misleading people. You cannot compare the first weekend in September last year with the second weekend this year. The only fair comparison is the second weekend each year, and when you do that, it's about 75,000 single rides extra, or about 40,000 people making round trips. There is no evidence that hundreds of thousands of people used the Metro on 9/12. I am ashamed of the Americans in our midst who perpetrate such shams.

    68. Orien Rigney says:

      I don't know which of you are correct, the left or right faction of our political process. But I know one thing to be a fact. If it wasn't for the "Middle of the Roaders" in our nation pulling both of you out of the fire from time to time, some foreign power would be in control of America at this very moment.

      To fly, all birds need two good wings and a sound body. Let's not kill this goose who lays such beautiful "Golden Eggs".

      "GOD BLESS this NATION" and even those who try to ruin it!!

    69. Jim, Germany says:

      Why does the heritage.org use the following language?

      “For a fair comparison, we looked at the Saturday after Labor Day in 2008, which is when September 12 fell in 2009.“

      Why not just say September 6th 2008?

      Here is the link for the whole month, not just the one day:


      The National Weather Service issued a tropical storm warning for Saturday, the 6th of Sept 2008!

      Thats a good date to find a small number of people going to the Washington Mall,

      but it's not a fair comparison!

    70. U R An Outlier says:

      The Heritage Foundation blog author does not know what they are doing.

      It is quite evident that 9/6/2008 is what is known as an easily explainable statistical outlier.

      9/6/08 = 202,528 because TS Hanna passed directly over DC on that date, dropped several inches of rain, and had wind speeds of 30-60 MPH.

      For all Saturdays (with known outliers removed) the mean = 352,332, median = 360,442, and sigma = 46,595

      The mean of the three preceeding 2009 Saturdays were closely bunched with a mean of 299,387

      Fitting a linear trend line to the data results in a background ridership for 9/12/09 of 376,436

      The ridership was actually 437,624 on 9/12/09

      So the highest possible extra round trip ridership is;

      69,119 = (437,624 – 299,387)/2

      That's the maximum possible extra round trip ridership.

      70K is all than an honest and objective statistical analysis will allow one to get away with in this case.

    71. emjem1963, Washingto says:

      @U R An Outlier

      Outlier, you're still making a mistake that the original author made, which is looking at August 2009 ridership. August ridership is always lower than September. If you look at September 2008, then you get a median of about 360K. Even this is probably low, as ridership has steadily increased year to year.

      Anyway, I think we are all ending up at the same number, about 40,000 riders. An amusing side note is that I am debating this on 912dc.org, and when presented with the Metro numbers, somebody just claimed that 1 M people attended, and that 90% of them drove. Even if people carpooled, 200,000 open parking spaces in DC on a Saturday?

    72. U R An Outlier says:


      Fully understood.

      However, I'm trying to maintain a fully neutral and objective POV.

      AFAIK, I'm the first one on the internets to discover the TS Hanna statistical outlier that the THF blogger used in this bogus "analytical" posting.

      Also, the three previous Saturdays this year (2009) had rather low (but consistent) ridership of ~300K.

      Removing the background noise, IMHO is not as straightforward as it would first appear.

      My purpose was to assume the lowest background noise to arrive at the highest possible estimate for excess round trip ridership on 9-12-2009.

      The highest possible number is 70K.

      I also was the first AFAIK to find out independently online about the BFR on the Mall which undoutbtedly consumes some fraction of the aforementioned 70K.

      I do this type of stuff for a living, and I am currently in the process of writing an in depth research paper (for publication) on crowd estimates.

    73. deathbymedia, US says:

      Almost all the speculative numbers thrown around here are anecdotal and have no bases in concrete investigatory zeal that is required to make such assertive claim. I have done my own study base on a devised stationary methodology and calculation which you can find here:


      It's backed by visual evidence (pictures and clips) all available in the same entry, plus determining the boundaries of the rally and calculation of the final tally derived from the density of the crowd at each given block. My calculus puts the figures around 130k up to 160k.

    74. emjem1963, Washingto says:

      @UR, I appreciate & respect your comments, and also the relatively civil tone by most posters on this thread.

      To toot my own horn, though, I did this analysis on 9/15:


      That's interesting about studying crowd estimation. I'm definitely not an expert on that (I work with Metro ridership data for a living!) – but I have been to many, many rallies on the Mall, including ones that were estimated (back when the Park Service did official aerial estimates) at 30K, 60K, 100K, as well as the 900K+ Inauguration. From what I saw on the Mall on 9-12, it looked to me like the 30K flavor. And yes, I know the rally was not the march, but most of the rallies I went to were marches+rallies as well. I was on the Mall from Noon to 4, and I didn't see any more marchers straggling in during any of that time.

    75. momsaid, VA says:

      Something caught my eye in the article. The percentage of people riding in on the Metro as part of the crowd on Inauguration day was likely far greater than that on 912. Why? ALL THE ROADS WERE CLOSED TO REGULAR TRAFFIC for the Inauguration! Plus, far fewer people who 'usually' rode to or from work would have been there, since many businesses (and ALL gov't offices) were closed that day. Recalculating with these facts in effect, you come up with less than 1/2 of attendees riding the trains. Unfortunately, I've yet to find a full aerial photograph of the rally, which makes an accurate count difficult to establish. Where are they hiding the photos? I saw at least 2 helicopters during the rally.

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