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Saturday, February 26, 2011

50-State Union Protest Falls Far Short Of Predicted Turnout

Protests in support of Wisconsin public sector unions were organized by MoveOn.org and labor unions today.

Promoters, such as David Dayen at Firedoglake, were predicting a million-person turnout nationwide.  But reports as of 7:00 E.S.T. today make clear that other than in Madison, Wisconsin, the crowds were sparse.

The turnout in Madison was sizable, with estimates ranging over from 50-70,000, which included protesters bused in from other states.  (Dayen is trying to pump the crowd estimate to over 100,000.) But elsewhere, the crowds numbered only in the hundreds or low thousands.

In Washington, D.C., only about 500 people showed up (go to link for good photos of crazy signs). (Note, WaPo says 1000.)

In Columbus, OH, where you would expect a big crowd given a similar controversy, only "several thousand" people protested

Other head counts, based on news reports, include: Boston (1000), Portsmouth, N.H. (few hundred), Augusta, ME (small crowd), New York City ("several thousand"), Chicago (1000), Miami (100), Austin (several hundred), Chicago (1000); Lansing, MI (2000), Nashville (hundreds), Los Angeles (2000), Richmond, VA (300), Denver (1000); Frankfurt, KY (several hundred), Jefferson City, MO (several hundred), Harrisburg, PA (several hundred). 

While I don't have a complete count, based on these numbers from some major cities and labor states, total protesters nationwide (excluding Madison) likely totaled under 100,000 combined.

Outside of Madison, there were no reports of sizable crowds.  And if you read the news reports, almost all the protesters were other union members.  Despite the efforts, the organizers failed to motivate significant numbers of non-union members to come out for protests.

The 50-state protest was a failure, plain and simple, although the images from Madison may create the false impression of massive nationwide protests.

Update:  As predicted, the mainstream media is painting the nationwide protest as a success.  The headlines talk about protests around the country, but the stories talk almost entirely about Madison, giving the false impression that there was widespread support around the country:
  • The New York Times, In Wisconsin and Beyond, Rallying Behind Unions, only had one factual reference to a protest outside Madison, nothwithstanding the headline:  "In Miami, about 150 people took part in a rally at Bayfront Park in solidarity with public employees in Wisconsin and elsewhere."
  • AP, Protesters across US decry Wis. anti-union efforts: "Large crowds of teachers, firefighters and public workers also gathered for rallies — holding American flags, wearing pro-union clothing and holding signs — in other capital cities including Topeka, Kan.; Harrisburg, Pa.; and Olympia, Wash."
Since NYT and AP stories are run at thousands of local newspapers around the country who cannot create their own content, it is likely that most people in this country never will hear about the dismal turnout for these protests.  This is your biased MSM in action.

Update 2-27-2011: Wisconsin Police Union Members Threaten Insurrection.
Update 2-28-2011: MoveOn Confirms Paltry Protest Numbers.

Related Posts:
Story About Gov. Walker Being Kicked Out Of Restaurant Appears To Be A Hoax
Phony David Koch Call Wasn't Just A Prank, It May Have Been Identity Theft
Think Progress's War Against The Koch Brothers

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  1. Hey Bill ya missed this one ...it was on Friday and guess who was speaking at the rally in Jersey

    Monmouth County's SCAT bus drivers stage sickout
    Developmentally disabled left waiting
    9:55 PM, Feb. 25, 2011 |

    Written by

    FREEHOLD — Monmouth County transportation employees staged a sickout Friday that left 174 developmentally disabled clients waiting for a bus that never came and county officials scrambling to get critically ill patients to their dialysis appointments.

  2. Wow that is some lame turnout. I'm a bit surprised.

  3. So Jim Hightower was a speaker in Austin, eh? Hightower said he was happier than a flea at a dog show. Well, guess he was. Gigs for that commie bastard are few and far between, the last one being at a rally with Van Jones. Hightower is a state disgrace who is trying to ride the wave of fame from a relative. He should have been happy with all the fleas. He's laid down with the dogs often enough.

    Guess the millions of union members are just not that willing to give up a Saturday to get out and protest for a bunch of spoiled Wisconsin teachers.

  4. As I commented several times across the great fruited plain of the Intertubes: There are a hell of a lot more of than them. Game over before it begins.

    "Because the Only Good Progressive is a Failed Progressive"

  5. For what it's worth:

    I clicked on the "Los Angeles" link and read that there were about 2,000 protestors at city hall.

    I work in a building across the street from city hall. I'm off work today, but just called my buddy who is working today. I asked him if he had seen the protestors and he said he had. I asked him to estimate how many, and he just said "Not many." When I asked, "A couple thousand or so?" he said, "No! Not even close!"

  6. 75 goons tops on the Capital steps in Bismarck ND, although to be fair it was below zero....

  7. I wonder how many of them weren't actually there for the protest but were walking by and saw the television cameras and hung around to see what was happening? Heck, in LA you'll attract 5000 street bums on a rumor that there might be free food.

  8. Here in Raleigh there were maybe 100, 150 tops. WRAL says several hundred, I was there at the counter-protest, which had about 75.

    Some red shirted morons, a few purple SEIU, some CWA. Was actually kind of lame, but, then, most protests in Raleigh generally are.

  9. Who thought this idea would work? Really? Union workers comprise only 12% of the workforce. Both my parents are union, (RN & Teacher), and neither would sign on to this mess. WI is for show. From across the country, they're (almost) all there trying desperately to make themselves relevant.

  10. Here in Sacramento, there were perhaps a thousand lefties and maybe a hundred Tea Party counter-protesters.

  11. Unions can only grow thru government help or coercion. That tells you all you need to know about unions.

  12. 1/10th projected turnout = Liberal Grassroots Win!

    In completely unrelated news, mainstream media journalists just happen to be members of the Communication Workers' Union.

    Fancy that.

  13. Media reports say about 250 people at the Capitol here in West Virginia. Looked like about half that to me.

  14. Linked with awesome video: '100,000 March on Wisconsin Capitol'. Yeah, and LAT is really, really trying to paint the national element a success. Wisconsin had a heckuva turnout, FWIW.

  15. There are 34,000 unionized workers in Vermont. 200 showed for the "rally" Tuesday in Montpelier.

  16. You said this:

    The turnout in Madison was sizable, with estimates ranging from 50-70,000

    To support your claim ("50-70,000"), you provided this link:


    Here's what that article actually says:

    A police spokesman didn't have a firm estimate for the size of Saturday's crowd but says it's definitely more than the roughly 70,000 people who converged on the Capitol last Saturday.

    How does "definitely more than" 70,000 translate into "50-70,000?" I haven't checked your other links. Are they based on the same kind of math?

    This is your biased MSM in action.

    If translating "definitely more than" 70,000 into "50-70,000" isn't "biased," can you think of a better word?

  17. @jukeboxgrad - I saw lower estimates earlier in the day, but can't find the link, so I have corrected to reflect the "over 70,000" unofficial estimate (it's immaterial to my post, because I acknowledged the 70,000 number and did not dispute that there was a large crowd in Madison itself.) Perhaps you now could contact NYT and AP to correct their stories to accurately reflect the embarrassingly low numbers nationwide.

  18. jukeboxgrad undoubtedly graduated from a highly unionized high school and has no idea of how to manage a thought that isn't given to him by others.

  19. Oh. And in Lansing, MI the public unions have a really good reason [for them] to turn out. However, the local tv news claiming "thousands" of protesters had to resort to tight angle shots and closeups of a meandering crowd march to make it look like any more than few hundred.

  20. I have corrected to reflect the "over 70,000" unofficial estimate

    Thanks for the correction.

    I acknowledged the 70,000 number

    Your post originally said "estimates ranging from 50-70,000." That does not translate into "acknowledged the 70,000 number." Those two things ("50-70,000" and "70,000") are not interchangeable.

    And even if you had "acknowledged the 70,000 number," that would have been incorrect, because, as far as I know, no one has estimated the Wisconsin crowd as 70,000. According to your own link, the police said the crowd was "definitely more than" 70,000. Those two things ("70,000" and "definitely more than" 70,000) are also not interchangeable.

    And I also don't understand why you think a police statement is fairly described as "unofficial."

    Perhaps you now could contact NYT and AP to correct their stories to accurately reflect the embarrassingly low numbers nationwide.

    Perhaps you now could indicate the exact statements in those stories which were not "correct."

    The headlines talk about protests around the country

    That's because there were indeed "protests around the country."

    And I just noticed that you said this:

    which included protesters bused in from other states

    The link you cited doesn't support the plural. It's about Rockford IL, which is 67 miles from Madison. One other state is not accurately described as "other states."

    has no idea of how to manage a thought that isn't given to him by others

    Understanding that "definitely more than" 70,000 does not mean the same thing as "50-70,000" is something I was able to figure out on my own. If you don't know how I was able to do that, just speak up and I'll try to explain it to you.

  21. 20,000 isn't even big enough to constitute a discernible rounding error when you're expecting over a million.

  22. I hadn't heard a prediction,in terms of numbers,but I went to the one in Albany,NY.
    For something that was arranged in a couple days,in the middle of the winter on a Sat afternoon I thought it was a good turnout-500-- or so I'm no crowd counter.
    It was a good show of support for the union in Wisconsin.Admittedly a little coffee would have been nice.

  23. The email I received from Move On was bragging about having 30,000 people pledged to show up in 66 cities. This was their example of the energy "exploding" around this issue.

  24. Yes, the infamous astro-turf that Pee-loosely hilariously accused the Tea Party crowd---of being paid-for shills---demonstrates that MoveOn isdead on the vine.

    Sure, you can bus in layabouts and slackers and useless union head-lice from all over the country to Madison for photo-ops, but the astro-turf is entirely visible in the breathless lunacy of the MoveOn cadres.

  25. 20,000 isn't even big enough to constitute a discernible rounding error when you're expecting over a million.

    Nichols making an incorrect prediction* and Jacobson misrepresenting what his own source said about the crowd in Madison are two separate issues. You seem to think that the former somehow excuses the latter. Maybe you could explain how that makes sense.

    (* Contrary to what Jacobson said, Dayen did not make a prediction; he cited a prediction made by someone else.)

    What you're saying also makes no sense because no one was "expecting over a million" in Madison. Translating "definitely more than" 70,000 into "50-70,000" is indeed something much larger than "a discernible rounding error."

    The email I received from Move On was bragging about having 30,000 people pledged to show up in 66 cities.

    Jacobson said this: "total protesters nationwide (excluding Madison) likely totaled under 100,000 combined." Sounds like the turnout was better than expected. Jacobson should correct his headline (unless "far short of" 30,000 is now defined as "under 100,000" ).

  26. You've made the top of the page over at Memeorandum with this report Bill. @8:25est

  27. Mickey Mantle Day. I'm giving away my age. When I was in college (in NYC in the 60s) I went to thousands of protest marches. Eventually I developed my own criterion for whether a protest was a success: Mickey Mantle Day.

    Attendance at Mickey Mantle Day at Yankee Stadium was from 50,000 on up. That means that at least 50,000 people in NYC thought this is an event worth going to. Sports icons fill seats.

    Apparently all the protests put together all over the US produced an attendance worth two Mickey Mantle Days. A good football game or stock car race brings out more bodies than yesterday's pro-union rallies. What if someone gave a protest march and everyone was busy watching Mickey Mantle reruns?

  28. Yeah well, you guys just wait until we see reports from the 5 or 6 states. It could be in the millions..

  29. @jukeboxgrad

    I know it must be frustrating when you spray the Miracle-Gro again and again and wait and wait and wait ... and you look on the other side of the fence and see your neighbor's grass--it's much greener and growing before you very eyes.

    Here's 20,000 kid. And a thick slab of astroturf to lay on top of your other one. Now, scram. Install it before he comes outside. Turn on the hose and smile and nonchalantly say, "Look. Catchin' up to you, Bill."

  30. A whole 300 showed up at the Capitol Building in Salt Lake City, Utah. The snow may have had some impact, but it can't be that much.

  31. So in the end roughly 299,500,000 or so Americans spent their time Saturday either opposed to or uninterested in attending these rallies.

    The unions and minorities want to dominate the MSM and the MSM obliges. I'm so sick of the view, it's boring and corrupt.

    Obama is narrow. Multiculturalism is dead and The country is tiring of the crybabies.

  32. Lets see if it was only 'dozens' showing up at the Beck rally or '89,000' then what we saw today, across the Nation, was definitely in the 'tens' sort of range and maybe even close to '89,000' able to drag themselves out to their own State Capitols...

    In other words: pathetic.

  33. LukeHandCool

    Any idea if Tim Phillips and his grassroots Americans for Prosperity is still hanging around Madison? I mean, if you're talking fake populists then you have to be talking about AFP and Freedom Works, right?

    Meanwhile, Professor Jacobson, you listed Chicago twice. I imagine you might want to correct that.

  34. Couldn't make it to Frankfort Kentucky yesterday as I have been sick but I noticed your reference to Frankfurt here and wanted to offer the correction. :)

  35. THANKS FOR POSTING! Another miserable leftist failure. Like so many others!

    We've been all over this issue on Common Cents...


  36. The one here in Los Angeles had maybe 1,000 people. I'm not good at estimating crowd size. Here are some pictures and a video from it.

  37. And as jukeboxgrad watered the astroturf lawn with liquid Miracle-Gro, his buddy timb went around back to check on the coffee party seedlings. He fondly recalled the day they planted the seeds ... how so many journalists had arrived like buzzing bees intent on pollination. He could almost smell the coffee beans. But timb's heart stopped as he stepped into the backyard. The coffee party seedlings were all dead.

    "Jukeboxgrad!! Come here!! Now!!" he cried. Juke was also devastated. He didn't tell timb that he hadn't bothered to water them. His neighbor never had to water his tea plants!! They peered over the fence into Neighbor Bill's backyard. That fence. The two had tried to get the community outraged over Bill putting up that simple fence, keeping them out of Bill's backyard. "Why are Bill's tea plants growing faster than weeds?" Juke demanded. "Those aren't tea plants!" timb shot back. "Those are Creeping Jews! Named for the Israeli settlements, you moron!!"

    Almost simultaneously, Juke and timb glanced at the chainsaw sitting on their back porch. "I was only 10 months away from getting my Certificate of Completion before I quit the "Charles Manson School of Pruning" timb boasted. "Heh heh ... I'll take care of Bill's tea plants. Goodbye, tea plants!!"

    timb yanked the cord and the chainsaw roared to life. Before he could scream, he realized he was holding the wrong end.

    "Haha!" Juke laughed. "10 months away?! It was only a 6-month program. And you didn't quit. You flunked out, you moron!!"

  38. Most folks don't realize how heavily unionized the media is. So all the pieces fit the puzzle: the media are mostly Democrat, Democrats support unions, much of the media belong to unions, hence, biased media coverage of unions. Just ask yourself when is the last time you saw a media news story about union corruption? crickets chirping.......

  39. when is the last time you saw a media news story about union corruption?

    When is the last time you actually bothered to look? Try this search:


    It returns 16,200 results. Sorry to burst your bubble.

  40. @William Teach

    We had a photo from the roof of the building directly in front of the protest in Raleigh, counted 335 pro union supporters and 44 anti.