Crowd Comparison: Liberty Party Crowd Dwarfs CDC, UP and ALP Crowds During Campaign Launches in Montserrado County
Since August 19 of this year, when political rallies began to trend in Montserrado County, there has been an unending debate about the size of crowds attending these rallies and how they’re indicative of the popularity of presidential candidates and their running mates.
When the Congress of Democratic Change (CDC) launched their Montserrado rally on August 19, nostalgia overtook many pundits, as it seemed the CDC had started to re-establish itself to its former glory. The crowd, while sizable, was approximately 45,000 according to independent sources. The estimation was based on pictures from drones and other aerial footage of the gathering. Experts say that while this was a huge gathering, it also lacked the luster once shown by CDC in previous election years; moreover, some experts suggest that the size of crowd pulled could also be attributed to the foreign artists who performed during the CDC rally.
CDC Rally at their Headquarters on August 9, 2017
Then came September 9, when the Liberty Party launched their Montserrado campaign. Video and footage from drones showed a sizable crowd, projected at over 200,000. This mammoth gathering surprised pundits because Montserrado had been off limit to Liberty Party. From ELWA junction to the Monrovia City Hall, scores of supporters filled every square inch of space on the streets, chanting and singing. There were even more supporters spotted as far as Brewerville and Red Light but they were unable to reach the central gathering location at the Catholic Hospital junction.
Liberty Party Rally with supporters from ELWA Junction to Monrovia City Hall
The All Liberian People Party then launched their camping on Friday September 15 at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium (ATS). So far, experts say this was the smallest gathering of all the political rallies, putting the total number to approximately 25,000. Although this was impressive for a new political party, the number just don’t compare to the other political parties.
ALP Rally at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium, Friday September 15, 2017
The ruling party, Unity Party, then held their national campaign rally on Saturday September 16 at the ATS. With much fanfare, Unity Party paraded thousands of supporters and filled the ATS to capacity, leaving thousands of supporters outside on surrounding streets. But experts say the ATS can hold a maximum of 10,000 people with another 10,000 capacity when the field is filled. Since Unity Party filled both the stadium and the field, they estimate about 20,000 in the stadium and another 15,000 out on the streets. Overall, it is unanimously agreed that Unity Party brought out about 35,000 supporters during its rally.
Unity Party Rally at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium, Friday September 16, 2017
So when the numbers are tallied, it showed that Liberty Party pulled in the most supporters at over 200,000, followed by CDC (45,000), UP (35,000) and ALP (25,000). But what surprised experts is that Liberty Party pulled in more supporters than CDC, UP and ALP combined. This staggering disparity in the numbers is what confounds political experts. And while the race is far from over, it is now apparent that Liberty Party is in the lead with supporters in Montserrado. The challenge for them (and all parties) is to translate turnouts into votes. And for Liberty Party, that means leveraging what worked for Montserrado in other counties like Bassa, Nimba, Bong and Margibi.