Tea Party March on DC Draws Somewhere between 2 million and 60,000 People. Go figure.


A number of Reasoners were in the crowd at yesterday's Taxpayer March on Washington to cover the event (look for a Reason.tv bit in the coming hours). Like myself, Matt Welch was surprised by the turnout, which was gigantic. Welch is ready to eat his hat if the crowd wasn't "at least a healthy six figures."

Press accounts are pegging the crowd at somewhere between (get this) 60,000 (ABC News) and and "in excess of 75,000″ (local officials) 1.2 million (local police agency estimates) and 2 million people (ABC News again, Fox News, The Daily Mail, and various other outlets).

I confess to having no way of checking or even evaluating these stats, but from my view of the proceedings (and having attended various events over the years), my sense is that 60,000 is way low and 2 million a stretch by a huge factor. Crowd counts are notoriously difficult and always pumped up or down for various reasons.

That said, the three takeaways I had from the event comport with Welch's from yesterday's post: First, the crowd was truly huge. Second, the crowd was from all over the place (both geographically and ideologically). And third, the crowd, well-behaved and stunningly normal in the main, was genuinely pissed off at out of control spending and government policies. "Stop spending," was the basic answer to any questions about what Congress and the president should do come tomorrow. Throw the bums of either party out come next fall was the second most-common answer.