Jon Stewart just announced his “Rally to Restore Sanity” last Thursday, yet he already has more people pledged to attend the event than Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally. Comparisons between the two events will surely continue, as Stewart’s rally is at least partially a response to Beck’s. So far all indicators point to Stewart’s producing a larger following than Beck’s.
After less than one week, the Facebook page for Stewart’s “Rally to Restore Sanity” already has 93,000 RSVP’s. Now, many who have pledged to attend will undoubtedly not actually be there for various reasons, but another 48,000 say they might attend. In addition, the numbers above do not include the 37,000 who say they will attend Stephen Colbert’s “March to Keep Fear Alive,” scheduled at the same time and place as Stewart’s rally. Colbert also has 14,000 who say they might attend his event. Stewart and Colbert will hold the event on October 30th from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET. That gives them another month to promote the event and increase their numbers. At this rate, both rallies could easily produce a tally of more than a million followers, but it has yet to be seen whether the current pace can continue or whether these people will actually show up.
The best estimates for Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally put his numbers much lower than Stewart and Colbert. CBS News paid an independent firm to estimate Beck’s crowd size. The firm, which specializes in making crowd size estimates for many organizations, including the Department of Homeland Security, used multiple aerial photos and independent experts to make their estimate. Their analysis revealed that approximately 87,000 people attended Beck’s rally. Beck contended that “hundreds of thousands” were at his rally, but provided no independent or scientific analysis behind that number.
So unless Stewart’s rally significantly under-produces from its current numbers, it will undoubtedly be larger than Beck’s. Stewart has sold his rally as an effort to give a voice to more reasonable moderates, who he claims make up a larger percentage of the population. Stewart argued that the current political discourse in America is dominated by those who advocate the most extreme viewpoints, and with the loudest voice. While not specifically mentioning Beck, his reference seemed clear. Stephen Colbert will likely be mocking personalities like Beck with his “March to Keep Fear Alive.”
While Stewart’s rally has gained the largest following, the movement to hold a rally actually began with a group who encouraged Stephen Colbert to hold a “Restoring Truthiness” rally in response to Beck’s rally. The idea soon caught fire on internet sites like Reddit and Facebook. After hinting that they might agree to the concept, both Stewart and Colbert officially announced their events last week.
Update: Some have correctly commented that the drive to hold a rally started on Reddit and not Facebook. Sorry for any confusion on the matter.