A crowd-measuring contest - Macleans.ca

A crowd-measuring contest

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For whatever reason, when asked yesterday to account for the individuals turned away and ejected from his campaign events, Stephen Harper asserted that his tour was drawing more people “than all the other parties combined.” Today he claimed that this explains the criticism he is receiving from other party leaders.

“We’ve had thousands of people, far more people come out to hear us than the other guys have,” Mr. Harper said. “When the other guys are complaining we’re turning people away – and they can’t get people –I think that tells you how this campaign is going.”

Crowd-measuring is the most imperfect of sciences, but herein a quick survey of reported crowd estimates.

Mr. Harper has reportedly drawn audiences of 250, 700, 600, 1,000, 700, 750, 350, 800, 400 and 500. That excludes one event—in Covehead, PEI—for which I could not find an estimate.

For the sake of comparison, Michael Ignatieff has reportedly drawn audiences of 1,000, 800, 500, 700, 800, 800, 500 and 200. No audience was reported for a town hall meeting in London, Ontario, but a check with a couple reporters on the Liberal tour pegs the audience at about 450.

So that’s about 6,050 over ten events for Mr. Harper and 5,750 over nine events for Mr. Ignatieff. That’s an average of 605 for Mr. Harper and an average of 639 for Mr. Ignatieff.

(I’ve not done a similar survey for Jack Layton’s events, but through the first seven days, the NDP claimed total crowds of 1,600.)