Al Gore’s Live Earth concerts are wrapped up, and the numbers are in. According to the pollsters at Rassmussen Reports, they aren’t the sort that send concert promoters — or political advisers — into states of rapture:

Most Americans tuned out. Just 22 percent said they followed news stories about the concert Somewhat or Very Closely. Seventy-five percent did not follow coverage of the event. By way of comparison, 8-in-10 voters routinely said they were following news coverage of the recent Senate debate over immigration. Fifty-four percent said they followed news coverage of the President’s decision to commute Scooter Libby’s sentence … Skepticism about the participants may have been a factor in creating this low level of interest. Most Americans (52 percent) believe the performers take part in such events because it is good for their image. Only 24 percent say the celebrities really believe in the cause while another 24 percent are not sure. One rock star who apparently shared that view is Matt Bellamy of the band Muse. Earlier in the week, he jokingly referred to Live Earth as “private jets for climate change.”

Tahira Yaqoob at the Daily Mail in London calls the part of the event held at Wembley Stadium “a foul-mouthed flop,” noting that according to the BBC, “the peak audience, which came when Madonna sang at Wembley, was a dismal 4.5 million. Three times as many viewers saw the Princess Diana tribute on the same channel six days before. Two years ago, Live 8 drew a peak television audience of 9.6 million while Live Aid notched 10 million in 1985.”

Over at Right Wing Nut House, Rich Moran asks, “What does it say about you dilettantes that 140,000 people showed up at a NASCAR race in Daytona to watch carbon-spewing automobiles race around an oval track while a less than impressive 52,000 showed up at Giants stadium to watch rocker Bon Jovi (local boy) and that paragon of restraint and virtue Kanye West?”

Les Jones at Rock Stars Against Live Earth points out the most obvious irony: “Live Earth officials in Johannesburg are blaming poor attendance on unseasonably cold weather, which included the first snow in 25 years. The most likely cause of the cold weather? The Gore Effect, in which a visit by Al Gore to raise awareness of global warming causes cold.”

James Wolcott at Vanity Fair has no problem with the politics of the event, but feels the theatrics were another story: “I watched about ten minutes of Live Earth and what struck was how dated, how last century, all the titanic rigamarole and mob rituals of arena rock are: the Jumbotron screens, the banks of Borg-cube amplifiers, the stage choreography and lip syncing, the muscular drummer pounding away in the back, the cilia of audience arms and hands waving in unison, the inane calls and responses (‘Everybody say heh-oh’ — ‘HEH…OH!’), all those boring microphone-stand Ahab maneuvers…it all looks so encumbered.”

Edward Morrissey at Heading Right finds a more nuanced political significance:

On one level, this news may not be at all bad for the organizers of Live Earth. In this fragmented entertainment sector, a 22 share would be pretty good ratings for a televised event. Plenty of TV execs would consider that a successful show, and might be lining up sequels.

Politically, though, this tends to refute certain assumptions about the viability of this issue in the U.S. Many thought that climate change would create momentum for a Draft Gore movement in the Democratic primaries. Although the topic gets plenty of play in the left-leaning punditocracy and blogosphere, it looks as though the resonance ends there …

Having long been steeped in the celebrity culture, Americans tend to note the superficiality of celebrity causes quickly. Less than a quarter believe that the same celebrities who take private jets to these extravaganzas are credible spokespeople for the cause of energy reduction. …

The climate-change issue appears played out, at least politically, here in the U.S. If Gore wants to run for President (which I rather doubt), he had better find a better issue and tackle it with less hysteria.

If Morrissey is right, it brings up another irony: Al Gore, the Tin Woodsman of American politics, done in by an overabundance of heart.