City Desk

Expert Predicts Low Turnout for Inauguration

Tens of thousands of people showed up to glimpse president-elect Barack Obama at several stops along today's train trip to Washington, but will anybody bother to show up for the actual inauguration?

Answer: Nah. Local and federal officials have done everything they can to make the prospect of attending this thing totally unattractive. Too much stupid security, too many ugly warnings, and too cold, too.

The initial crowd estimates were totally made up. The rental market was a bust from the start. Hundreds of hotel rooms remain unbooked. The city's received less than half the expected tour bus reservations. And only 662,560 people have RSVPed on Facebook.

We'll never get an official estimate, per Dave McKenna's story this week, so just take it from me: Everybody's definitely staying home.

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  • Jay Reeder

    The turnout for the concert tomorrow should be a bellwether.

    If a capacity crowd of 500,000 shows up, we can probably expect over a million on the Mall at the swearing-in.

    But if the concert doesn't "sell out" ... forget about it.

    Paradoxically, if more than 500,000 people show up for the concert, and some of them are turned away because the venue is full, this may also have a negative impact on swearing in attendance. Nothing will sour attitudes faster than waiting in a Secret Service security line for four hours only to be told "Sorry, all full. The fire marshal (or whatever) won't let anyone else in."

  • James

    it's gonna be madness! concert was a smash!

  • Arthur Delaney

    This expert was so wrong.