Bogus Crowd Estimates

It looks like the McCain campaign is playing the old political game of inventing inflated crowd estimates. They told reporters that 23,000 people attended a Sept. 10 rally. They attributed that estimate to a fire marshal. However, "Fairfax City Fire Marshal Andrew Wilson said his office did not supply that number to the campaign and could not confirm it." What's more, "Washington Post reporter Marc Fisher estimated the crowd to be 8,000, not the 23,000 cited by the campaign."

But the McCain campaign isn't revising the figure:

"The 23,000 figure was substantiated on the ground," McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said. "The campaign is willing to stand by the fact that it was our biggest crowd to date."

Democrats have been known to play the same game. In fact, political prankster Dick Tuck used to pose as a fire marshal to provide reporters with low estimates of the turnout at Nixon's rallies.


Posted on Mon Sep 15, 2008


Well, I always feel like there are 10,000 people at my house. But usually it's just 3 or 4. Maybe it's a "feels like" number?
Posted by Maegan  on  Mon Sep 15, 2008  at  03:45 PM
No, the McCain campaign is simply not using Base10 for their number. They're counting in Base7, and graciously underestimating the crowd slightly (23,000 in Base7 is 5,831 in Base10).

McCain: Mathematics of the future!
Posted by Robert G.  on  Mon Sep 15, 2008  at  05:08 PM
I miss Dick Tuck. His stuff was funny.

He's still alive, by the way. Recently, I read an interview with him. I forget where I saw it, but it should be easily Google-able.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Mon Sep 15, 2008  at  06:38 PM
Every big organization does this. I saw a write up last year on a Scientology meeting where they claimed record attendance and had photos to prove it.

It turns out that, after careful examination, attendance was about two thirds of what was claimed and the photos were shown to have been run through the Photoshop machine.

Everyone lies.
Posted by KDP  on  Tue Sep 16, 2008  at  07:31 AM
This is just "he said" vs "he said", who is to really know who is right? Obviously these are just estimates, it's one word against another.
Posted by Mike  on  Tue Sep 16, 2008  at  07:42 AM
It may seem like it but no, "everyone" does not lie.

If crowd estimating was truly a matter of two different estimates then they could be high or low. So, when someone needs a big number and they "create" a big number it is a lie not a "different estimate".

Also, estimating crowd sizes is not that hard to get close but being off by a favorable 300% is not an indication of difficulty or "estimation but of an intentional falsehood.

I don't care who does assaults it, but the truth does matter.
Posted by floormaster squeeze  on  Tue Sep 16, 2008  at  08:53 AM
Obviously you aren't taking into account how much of McCain's support base is into Fundamental Christianity. They are obviously counting the physical body, the Holy Spirit dwelling within them, as well as the place in their heart they made for Jesus. That's three counts for nearly every person in the room, if you ask me!
Posted by fuzzfoot  on  Tue Sep 16, 2008  at  08:29 PM
Fuss, I think you may be on to something.
Posted by Loganp3  on  Wed Sep 17, 2008  at  02:16 PM
Well, some of those people might have had split personality. Have you ever thought of that? So when you THINK you're looking at 1 person, it could actually be 10 people in one body.
Posted by Sakano  on  Wed Sep 17, 2008  at  04:16 PM
Even one is too many at a Mccain rally
Posted by wdl  on  Tue Oct 14, 2008  at  04:46 PM
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