Glenn Beck Restoring Honor Rally: Crowd Estimates, What is the Official Crowd Estimate for the Glenn Beck Rally?

by the Left Coast Rebel

Anyone that is mildly aware of how the machinery of the leftist-entrenched American press knows what happens when a conservative rally is a smashing success.

"Dozens, perhaps hundreds, gather," says the government-media complex. Charlie Martin at PJM relates the serial mis-understating conservative crowd estimating, leftist press in context to Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally yesterday:

There is a puzzling disparity among the estimates offered: USA Today and ABC News headline it merely “thousands” (but USA Today uses “tens of thousands” in the text, while ABC says “more than 100,000″), and the AP offers us “tens of thousands.” The New York Times offers us just “enormous,” while Politico takes the easy way out and simply says “no one can say for sure.” The National Park Service has returned to insisting that they don’t make crowd size estimates, which is true, except on those occasions when they do.

From what I gathered yesterday as well the press did their best to give more than equal time to Al "poverty pimp" Sharpton whose group gathered in numbers dwarfed by Glenn Beck's rally.

So it should come as no surprise that CBS News grabbed the torch and ran with an article,"Glenn Beck Rally Attracts Estimated 87,000" :

The company based the attendance on aerial pictures it took over the rally, which stretched from in front of the Lincoln Memorial along the Reflecting Pool to the Washington Monument. Beck and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin spoke at the rally.

Beck, who predicted that at least 100,000 people would show up, opened his comments with a joke: "I have just gotten word from the media that there is over 1,000 people here today."

The area around the Lincoln Memorial in Washington during a rally organized by conservative commentator Glenn Beck is seen in this aerial picture taken Aug. 28, 2010.


The area around the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool in Washington during a rally organized by conservative commentator Glenn Beck is seen in this aerial picture taken Aug. 28, 2010. gave its estimate a margin of error of 9,000, meaning between 78,000 and 96,000 people attended the rally. The photos used to make the estimate were taken at noon Saturday, which is when the company estimated was the rally's high point.

PJM's Charlie Martin did the best research that I have seen on Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" crowd estimate. He writes:

Since the last time we made an estimate, my own technology has improved. Using Google Earth, I constructed a polygon that covers the apparent area of the crowd, and another that takes in just the reflecting pool (since there are not a lot of people standing in the water).

With the aid of an excellent online tool, we find the enclosing area is about 223,000 square meters and the reflecting pool about 26,000 square meters. By applying only the least bit of advanced math, we get a total area for the crowd of about 197,000 square meters. The Park Service considers a “dense crowd” to be around 10 square feet per person, or about 0.93 square meters per person — call it 1.1 people per square meter. If the whole area were packed that densely, we’d have about 215,000 people.

Of course, it’s clear from these pictures that the whole area isn’t that tightly packed; on the other hand, we don’t know when the photos were taken. So let’s make a range of estimates.

Maximum: 215,000 people
90 percent 200,000
75 percent 163,000
50 percent 108,000
CBS News Estimate 87,000
40 percent 86,000

These are relatively small estimates compared to some, so let’s just note that I’m taking a very conservative approach:

  • I’m only using photographs of the reflecting pool area itself.
  • I’m not attempting to add in the people around the Lincoln Memorial, since I don’t have a good photo of that.
  • I didn’t attempt to include people between the Washington Monument and the reflecting pool.

So these should be considered very conservative estimates, especially as we think about the lower percentages. The total could easily be, say, twice the 75 percent estimate, or about 330,000 people..

Now, as I was completing this piece, CBS News released its own estimate, based, it said, on an estimate they commissioned by That estimate: 87,000 ± 9,000. (Oddly, doesn’t list crowd estimation or anything that seems much similar in its services, but perhaps that’s just an oversight.)

It appears to me that 87,000 is a real lower bound estimate: that would mean that only about 40 percent of the area had a “dense” crowd. And there weren’t any people in the other areas I didn’t include.

As always, you the reader will have to draw your own conclusions.

Read the rest at PJM. What are your thoughts on the crowd estimate for Glenn Beck's rally? Does it even matter? Bottom line -- a lot of people showed up, perhaps surpassing the six figure point and possibly close to twice that.

We'll see what the 'crowd estimates' are for the November election too - that's what really counts.

Updated: Check out The Other McCain's coverage of the event as well - Smitty was in attendance and has a lot of stories to tell. Wish I could have gone!

Updated x2: Leslie Eastman at Temple of Mut wrote an article on the Glenn Beck rally as well, in fact San Diego's Doo Doo Economics Charles and his lovely wife were in attendance as well.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Beck is an entertainer. So lets compare him to other entertainment events Americans like.

    The thing about Beck is that he doesn't outdrawn the top NCAA college football teams based on sensible crowd estimates of his lovefest.

    AND I doubt he could get 87K out 5-6 times a year and sell that kind of merchandise.

    1. Michigan 108,571
    2. Penn State 108,254
    3. Ohio State 104,976
    4.Tennessee 101,448
    5. Texas 98.046
    6. Georgia-92,746
    7. LSU-92,383
    8. Alabama-92.138
    9. Florida-90.544
    10. Auburn-92.138

  3. Where does this fit into Sharpton's rally drawing 3,000 people too then?

  4. I guess Americans like going to minor league hockey games more.

    My point is way to much is being made about crowds at these kind of events. With the massive amount of marketing and advertising that Beck does on his TV show about himself, he should be able to sustain a 4 month, 100 date national tour with the kind of numbers U2 can pull in. And he should be able to charge 100 bucks a ticket.

    But he can't. Cause most Americans view him as a roadside accident. They'll look, only when he's in front of their faces and it's FREE.

    And at the end of the day that makes him crap at what he does, which is supposed to sell a product. Himself.

    Take him off Fox and within 2 weeks he's back to being a morning radio personality in a mid-range market.

    He's no MLK or even a Bob Dole.


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