'One Nation' Rally: Liberal Media Concludes Size Doesn't Matter

The widely publicized, heavily subsidized "One Nation" rally was Saturday in Washington, D.C.  As has been openly admitted by the organizers, which included the AFL-CIO, the SEIU and Obama's perpetual campaign organization Organizing for America, this rally was held in the same place and at basically the same time of the day as Glenn Beck's 8/28 "Restoring Honor" rally, specifically to demonstrate the depth of support for the president's program. The convention organizers had a number of advantages, perhaps the greatest being that the buses bringing in demonstrators were apparently subsidized by the rally organizers.

Some of the initial reports were very positive: the organizers estimated 175,000 to 200,000 attendees, according to Crooks and Liars' report of  "preliminary satellite estimates ... at about noon EST [sic]."

(Where do they get these satellite estimates? PJM has been completely unsuccessful finding satellite companies that can give us these sorts of pictures on demand; there isn't a satellite passing over Washington, D.C., any time you want one.)

Comments from Left Field notes this "more than doubles the 87,000 attendees of Glenn Beck’s Restoring the Honor Rally," using the CBS News estimate I discussed at length here in August ("You Can See November from the Washington Monument").

Naturally, we were interested in the topic. Following various crowd estimates has become a running topic of interest at Pajamas Media, starting with my original crowd estimates that began with a "back of the envelope" calculation in a comment at Vodkapundit, followed by a more formal calculation here in PJM ("March on Washington: How Big Was the Crowd?").

Since then, I've built up a fairly well described methodology: we use Google Earth to estimate the area of the crowd from whatever photographs are available, then multiple by several different constants depending on the crowd density.  These estimates are taken from published Park Service standards going back at least to the Obama inaugural.

Since the "One Nation" rally was consciously positioned at exactly the same place as the "Restoring Honor" rally, we can compare with my original baseline very easily.

Here's the crowd perimeter as I drew it with Google Earth:

That area was about 2.4 million square feet. Using the crowd density estimates, we finally arrived at these estimates for the Beck crowd:

Estimate10 square feet per person5 square feet per person2.5 square feet per person
Maximum:215,000 people430,000860,000
90 percent200,000400,000800,000
75 percent163,000326,000652,000
50 percent108,000216,000432,000
CBS News Estimate87,00087,00087,000
40 percent86,000172,000344,000

The assumptions there correspond to the Park Service's standard for a "dense crowd" of about 5 square feet per person, my estimate of the crowd densities observed in the photos (10 square feet per person), and estimates from people in the most densely packed parts of the crowd (2.5 square feet per person).