Crowd size of those attending candidate events in NH matters.
What did you think I meant? This is a political blog after all.It's early days folks, and yet numbers are already telling me a lot.
I am one of the bloggers who was invited to meet with John Edwards during his initial swing through NH as an announced candidate for President on Dec 29th in Portsmouth NH.
The John Edwards campaign had set up the venue ( a Portsmouth NH elementary school gym) for 500 people. 1000 - 1500 people were turned away because the venue filled to capacity so quickly. We reported that on our blog and you can see photos of the size of the crowd turned away here http://www.soapblox.net/...
Today this NH blog http://nh2008.blogspot.com/... is reporting that roughly the same number of people filled a Concord NH gym to see Hillary Clinton.
Today, about 1,300-1,500 people filled Concord High School gymnasium to hear Hillary Clinton. Hillary was introduced by Congressman Paul Hodes. Once Mrs. Clinton took the stage she experience some technical difficulties which resulted in the New York Senator saying, "I am turned on" and "I am wired." The crowd was laughing during the episode. Moments later she talked about being a Girl Scout and the audience joined her in singing a Girl Scout campfire song.
The point of this is to just say that with the field so crowded it becomes really important to get accurate numbers of those that attending these events.
Based upon what I witnessed myself and what the NH blogger is reporting it sounds like that Hillary Clinton and Edwards are drawing the same size crowd. Another aspect to consider is that Hillary Clinton held her event on a Saturday afternoon and John Edwards held his event on a Friday afternoon(granted, it was vacation week but ususally alot of people have many other things to do during a school vacation week).
I asked someone at the Edwards event why the venue was set-up for only 500. I was told that when Edwards ran for President during the 04 cycle he had never drawn a crowd bigger than 500 in NH. The Edwards campaign was surprised at the turnout on the 29th. Right now I would like to know if any were turned away from the Clinton event.
I'll be paying close attention as well to the numbers that come to see Obama as he makes his first appearance in NH as announced candidate.
As a MA blogger, at the most roughly 70 miles away from cities like Portsmouth, Manchester, Nashua, and Concord, the group of bloggers from our blog are going to try to get to NH as often as we can to see the campaigns of those running for President. The first thing we are going to be looking at is size of the crowds attending these events; we want to ask as many of the people attending as we can if they are firmly committed to any candidate yet. We want to see if these numbers can be sustained throughout the 11 months left until the actual primary. We want to see the impact of debates will have on crowd size.
It's early days folks, and numbers and size are already telling me a lot.