The Campaign Spot

Are Crowd Sizes the Best Measure of the 2012 Mood?

From the first Morning Jolt of the week:

Hey, You Know Who Else Can Attract a Big Crowd? Kim Kardashian.

So over the weekend, the Romney campaign and its friends sent me three separate e-mails on the crowd size on the Obama kickoff rally. Apparently they think it’s a big deal. I would note that the President of the United States is always going to attract a decent sized crowd, and that if there’s a pattern of smaller crowds at Obama rallies this year, perhaps it’s an indicator of his slackening popularity… but we have polls for that, you know. Regularly updated ones.

Alexander Marlow summarizes at

Barack Obama launched his campaign in unspectacular fashion today at Ohio State University, the largest college in the crucial swing state.  A photoposted to twitter by Mitt Romney’s campaign spokesman Ryan Williams reveals sparse attendance.  The above image, according to Williams, was taken during the President’s first official campaign speech. 

During the speech, Obama ripped into the presumptive GOP nominee and discussed nation building at home, but the most newsworthy item of the day was not the talking points Obama delivered: it was the crowd… or lack thereof.  According to ABC News, the Obama campaign had expected an “overflow” of people.  Instead, the arena looked half-empty.  The Columbus Dispatch reports that Obama organizers even had people move from the seats to the floor of the gym in order to project a larger crowd on television. 

Asked about the crowd size, Obama campaign spokesman/crowd management specialist Chip Diller declared, “all is well! All is well!” (He was brought over from Homeland Security for the campaign.)

Obama senior adviser David Plouffe says the campaign is pleased with the turnout at its Saturday afternoon event at Ohio State University, where the 14,000-strong crowd fell short of the stadium’s capacity of 18,300.

 “Oh yeah,” Plouffe told pool reporter Amie Parnes of The Hill when asked after arriving in Richmond, Va., whether the campaign was satisfied with the crowd size earlier Saturday in Columbus.

He added that if Mitt Romney’s campaign wanted to have a debate about crowd size, “we’re happy to have that debate.”

Obama campaign officials had earlier said they expected an “overflow” crowd at the event.

Despite falling short of expectations, the crowd at Obama’s Ohio State University event was still many times larger than Romney’s biggest crowd this year so far. Romney has drawn crowds of several thousand people during the GOP primary race, but none topping 10,000.


The Latest