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The Crowd Size Primary

By Shailagh Murray
CORALVILLE, Iowa -- Does crowd size matter?

The temperature is close to zero. Anyone in Iowa who is remotely interested in politics has heard an earful from all the candidates. And yet, on the Democratic side in particular, the crowds are getting bigger and bigger -- even for candidates who barely register in the polls.

Here in Coralville, near the University of Iowa campus, around 1,450 Iowans packed into hotel ballroom this afternoon for Barack Obama, with 100 and counting filling an overflow room. Joe Biden drew 350 at an Ames library a few days ago and 550 in Des Moines on New Year's Day. Bill Richardson counted 350 in Ames yesterday and 500 in Des Moines on New Year's Eve. John Edwards is drawing similar numbers during his final 36-hour blitz around the state. Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton appear to be drawing the biggest crowds. As Obama spoke in Coralville, Clinton wooed 1,000 in nearby Cedar Rapids. Obama hit 1,000 twice on New Year's Day, in Council Bluffs and Des Moines. (We caution that these are unofficial estimates provided by various campaigns.)

Some people in the audiences are surely caucus tourists who are simply checking out the scene. But crowd building also is a serious campaign exercise that tests organizational strength and may foreshadow actual attendance at the caucuses tomorrow night. At all of his events, Obama asks people to raise their hands if they are first-time caucus goers, and around half of the crowd typically responds. If the Democratic crowds bear out tomorrow night, the record-shattering turnout that some have predicted could very well come true.

By Web Politics Editor  |  January 2, 2008; 6:22 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama , Hillary Rodham Clinton  
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Comments

"By Shailagh Murray
CORALVILLE, Iowa -- Does crowd size matter?"

This is unprofessional and inappropriate. Unfortunately it is also typical of the Teen Beat political coverage the Washington Post has chosen to provide us.

Posted by: zukermand | January 3, 2008 9:18 AM | Report abuse

America is a Democracy - Not a Monarchy.
------------------------------------
Nepotism does not equal experience.

The spin machine whipped together a machine candidate for a the past several years.
But as the lights grow more intense it's the people who begin to decide. Not the Machine. - Barack Obama for President.
It's Time America to Rise and Shine again.

Posted by: PulSamsara | January 2, 2008 11:08 PM | Report abuse

I was at an obama event in NH a few weeks ago...

Obama listed the crowd as 1200. The room only held 900, and they held taken out the unfilled seats.

Posted by: newagent99 | January 2, 2008 7:53 PM | Report abuse

GREETINGS FROM IOWA. IF ALL NUMBERS ARE SO CLOSE EVEN TODAY, THAT'S HOW'S GOING TO BE AFTER CAUCUS ALSO, SMALL PERCENTAGE DIFFERENCE, BUT WINNER WILL BE THE ONE WITH THE MOST OF THE PERCENTAGE, NO MARGINS THIS TIME. OBAMA IS BREATHING BEHIND THE NECKS OF ALL CANDIDATES, BUT NOT SURE YET. ONE MOOOORE DAY.

Posted by: BOBSTERII | January 2, 2008 7:21 PM | Report abuse

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