Bernie Sanders Just Drew A Huge Crowd. How Does It Measure Up?

July 2, 2015

Call it the latest sign of “Bernie-mentum” — Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ latest event in Madison, Wis., on Wednesday drew an estimated 10,000 supporters. He packed the arena at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in the liberal college town.

Sanders said last month that he was “stunned” by the large crowds showing up for him. Organizers were once shocked by 300 in Iowa, then 5,000 in Minnesota.

It’s important to remember, though, that drawing a big crowd doesn’t necessarily win an election — and neither this one nor the one in Minnesota was in an early primary state.

Hillary Clinton, Chris Christie and others have made a point of starting small to show that they are in touch with voters and not taking anything for granted. Still, Sanders’ crowd sizes have shown how deep his following goes and that he is a serious contender.

All 18 of the major candidates in the presidential race so far have a few more supporters to pick up to catch up President Obama’s largest crowd. Known for his large crowd sizes, none (aside from his inauguration) topped the crowd in Berlin in 2008. The then-candidate spoke to an estimated 200,000 in July 2008.

Here are some of the crowd sizes so far this cycle:

Hillary Clinton’s campaign launch rally at Roosevelt Island in New York City drew a packed crowd — the campaign estimated 5,500:

Ted Cruz launched his campaign at Liberty University before 11,000 college students — though there was a big catch. Because he spoke at the school’s convocation, students living on campus were required to attend:

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced his candidacy on Tuesday at Livingston High School’s gymnasium, which holds about 1,000. That’s the same school where he grew up and served as class president:

Jeb Bush spoke to 3,000 supporters at Miami-Dade College:

Democratic candidate Lincoln Chafee was mocked on Twitter for his announcement — held in a room at George Mason University in Virginia. There were no campaign signs or banners and, though the room was small, there were still empty seats:

And a #throwback to 2008 — then-candidate Barack Obama spoke to an estimated 200,000 people in Berlin:

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