NPR logo Bernie Sanders Just Drew A Huge Crowd. How Does It Measure Up?

Bernie Sanders Just Drew A Huge Crowd. How Does It Measure Up?

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 U.S. presidential candidate, speaks during a campaign rally in Madison, Wis., on Wednesday. i

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 U.S. presidential candidate, speaks during a campaign rally in Madison, Wis., on Wednesday. Christopher Dilts/Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Christopher Dilts/Bloomberg via Getty Images
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 U.S. presidential candidate, speaks during a campaign rally in Madison, Wis., on Wednesday.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 U.S. presidential candidate, speaks during a campaign rally in Madison, Wis., on Wednesday.

Christopher Dilts/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Call it the latest sign of "Bernie-mentum" — Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders' latest event in Madison, Wis., on Wednesday drew an estimated 10,000 supporters. He packed the arena at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in the liberal college town.

Sanders said last month that he was "stunned" by the large crowds showing up for him. Organizers were once shocked by 300 in Iowa, then 5,000 in Minnesota.

It's important to remember, though, that drawing a big crowd doesn't necessarily win an election — and neither this one nor the one in Minnesota was in an early primary state.

Hillary Clinton, Chris Christie and others have made a point of starting small to show that they are in touch with voters and not taking anything for granted. Still, Sanders' crowd sizes have shown how deep his following goes and that he is a serious contender.

All 18 of the major candidates in the presidential race so far have a few more supporters to pick up to catch up President Obama's largest crowd. Known for his large crowd sizes, none (aside from his inauguration) topped the crowd in Berlin in 2008. The then-candidate spoke to an estimated 200,000 in July 2008.

Here are some of the crowd sizes so far this cycle:

Hillary Clinton's campaign launch rally at Roosevelt Island in New York City drew a packed crowd — the campaign estimated 5,500:

Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks to supporters at her official campaign launch rally on June 13 in New York City. i

Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks to supporters at her official campaign launch rally on June 13 in New York City. John Moore/Getty Images hide caption

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Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks to supporters at her official campaign launch rally on June 13 in New York City.

Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks to supporters at her official campaign launch rally on June 13 in New York City.

John Moore/Getty Images

Ted Cruz launched his campaign at Liberty University before 11,000 college students — though there was a big catch. Because he spoke at the school's convocation, students living on campus were required to attend:

Sen. Ted Cruz announcing his presidential candidacy in March at Liberty University. i

Sen. Ted Cruz announcing his presidential candidacy in March at Liberty University. Getty Images hide caption

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Sen. Ted Cruz announcing his presidential candidacy in March at Liberty University.

Sen. Ted Cruz announcing his presidential candidacy in March at Liberty University.

Getty Images

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced his candidacy on Tuesday at Livingston High School's gymnasium, which holds about 1,000. That's the same school where he grew up and served as class president:

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie made his announcement in the gymnasium of his alma mater, Livingston High School. i

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie made his announcement in the gymnasium of his alma mater, Livingston High School. Getty Images hide caption

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie made his announcement in the gymnasium of his alma mater, Livingston High School.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie made his announcement in the gymnasium of his alma mater, Livingston High School.

Getty Images

Jeb Bush spoke to 3,000 supporters at Miami-Dade College:

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush announced his candidacy at Miami-Dade College in Florida. i

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush announced his candidacy at Miami-Dade College in Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images hide caption

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Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush announced his candidacy at Miami-Dade College in Florida.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush announced his candidacy at Miami-Dade College in Florida.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Democratic candidate Lincoln Chafee was mocked on Twitter for his announcement — held in a room at George Mason University in Virginia. There were no campaign signs or banners and, though the room was small, there were still empty seats:

Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee announced his candidacy to a small room with some empty seats at George Mason University in Virginia in June. i

Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee announced his candidacy to a small room with some empty seats at George Mason University in Virginia in June. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP hide caption

toggle caption Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP
Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee announced his candidacy to a small room with some empty seats at George Mason University in Virginia in June.

Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee announced his candidacy to a small room with some empty seats at George Mason University in Virginia in June.

Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

And a #throwback to 2008 — then-candidate Barack Obama spoke to an estimated 200,000 people in Berlin:

President Barack Obama, then a candidate, spoke in front of an estimated 200,000 people in Berlin in July 2008. i

President Barack Obama, then a candidate, spoke in front of an estimated 200,000 people in Berlin in July 2008. Sebastian Willnow/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Sebastian Willnow/AFP/Getty Images
President Barack Obama, then a candidate, spoke in front of an estimated 200,000 people in Berlin in July 2008.

President Barack Obama, then a candidate, spoke in front of an estimated 200,000 people in Berlin in July 2008.

Sebastian Willnow/AFP/Getty Images

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