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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Sunday, May 25, 2003


Meetup prediction: 100,000 by July

posted by Aziz P. at Sunday, May 25, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
The number of unique page views on the Dean Blog has passed 150,000 - averaging about 1500 visitors a day, of which 75% arrive via Google and Yahoo searches. Reflect on that for a moment - this is significant because it suggests that we are still in the early growth phase of Dean's netroots support. And the netroots support drives the grassroots support - which also shows the same trends, as seen by the history of Meetup numbers recorded on the DeanBlog over the past few months:

February 2nd501
February 20th1590
February 25th2327
March 5th4297
March 30th10010
March 31st10434
April 8th13808

Today, May 25th, we have 26055 members signed up. These are just the exact reported totals - after combing through the blog archives I found these estimated reports. These numbers are less accurate, because the numbers were quoted as "almost above" or "nearly at", and the dates are just the timestamp of the post which may not reflect the date that the estimate was made.


These numbers are plotted below - there are two curves, representing the precise and rough estimates. It's clear from the plot that the growth has been very healthy, but it's also also clear that it's the "foot" of an exponential, ie the initial near-linear regime. A linear fit to the data gives a slope of 240 supporters a day, with a R2 of .9723. So it's clear that we still have most of our growth ahead.

The DLC and others may well argue that the growth will stay linear. I think that's a pessimistic (and agenda-driven) opinion - after all, politics is subject to the "network effect" and here we have the marriage of politics and the Internet, where the network effect was practically invented. It's impossible to try and fit a meaningful exponential to the curve at this point, but I think that we may well break 100,000 Meetup supporters within two months. Stay tuned :)

Of course, it's just rubbing salt to mention Edwards and Kerry meetup numbers. I can't resist, see the chart at below (data is much sketchier). Astonishingly, it seems that Kerry and Edwards actually lost supporters in late March/early April[2]. Also, Joe had a hysterical post on 4/7 that pokes fun at the Favorite Sons running against Dean - by comparing meetup numbers in their home towns. And note that on the Edwards Meetup page, one of items for discussion is, "Why Edwards and not Dean in 2004?" - note Kerry is conspicuously absent from Edwards supporters' agenda.

But wait! This is all just Internet foolery! the critics argue. Why do Meetup numbers really matter? Four words: The Million-Dollar Meetup Challenge. Add a penny for the Internet!

[1]Note that the january estimate is arbutrary, based on a comment by Joe Trippi that "we had 432 supporters in January". I just took the midpoint of the month.
[2]The numbers come from reports published here on the DeanBlog. There may have been an error in reporting, but it's also possible that both candidates sufferred from defections to Dean.


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.