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Dublin: 12°C Monday 4 July 2022

Obama definitely beat Trump in the battle of the crowd sizes

Trump has regularly bragged about bringing in ‘big numbers’.

Pasted image at 2017_01_20 04_19 PM Source: Twitter/CBS News

WITH THE EYES of the world on Washington DC today for the inauguration of US President Donald Trump, many people took to comparing the crowd sizes from today with during President Barack Obama’s first inauguration.

In the pictures that were shared, it didn’t seem that Trump’s crowd fared particularly well.

In this widely shared tweet from New York Times correspondent Binyamin Appelbaum, the crowds along the National Mall are shown to have stretched back significantly further in 2009 compared to today.

PastedImage-46680 Source: Twitter/Binyamin Appelbaum

Appelbaum said that both images were taken at roughly the same time on both days, about 6 hours before the swearing-in at 11.15 am local-time.

We did our own crowd size comparison from inauguration days 2009 and 2017 and found that there’s certainly a significant difference between two.

Although perhaps not as much as it seems in Appelbaum’s pictures.


Pasted image at 2017_01_20 07_06 PM Inauguration crowds from the Capitol building to the Washington monument at 11.19 am today. Source: Fox News


Jan-20-2017 12-28-49 (1) From the same angle at 11.18am on inauguration day 2009. Source: CNN

Speaking about Trump’s crowd, veteran US reporter Bob Schieffer of CBS News said the mall was:

“Far from being filled in. But it’s still a good-sized crowd.”

Crowd sizes

Estimating crowd sizes is a notoriously difficult thing to do and experts often disagree about the final results.

As The Atlantic points out, Arizona State University and the DC government both used the same satellite footage to get a figure for the numbers at Obama’s first inauguration.

The first estimate came to 1.1 million and the second came to 1.8 million people.

It’s too early to put a definitive figure on the how many people attended Trump’s inauguration, but the first estimates have been made.

We also draw some conclusions in other ways.

Transit officials tweeted the number of people who rode public transport before 11am on the various inauguration days since 2005.

The concluded that there were 513,000 trips taken on Obama’s inaugural day and 193,000 today.

Read: ‘America First’: President Donald Trump’s inaugural speech in full >

Read: Police use tear gas in Washington DC protests during President Trump’s inauguration >

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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