How Hillary Clinton’s 1.4 Million Popular Vote Lead Broke Records

Scranton, PA - AUGUST 15:  Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton holds a rally with Vice President Joe Biden at Riverfront Sports athletic facility on August 15, 2016 in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Hillary Clinton focused her speech on the economy and bringing jobs to the key swing state of Pennsylvania.   (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)

Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania. (Getty)

Hillary Clinton’s popular vote lead over president-elect Donald Trump has grown to more than 1.4 million votes, and it’s smashing records.

Clinton is number 3 in all-time presidential popular vote totals in United States history, and her tally is still growing, largely because of uncounted ballots remaining in blue California. As of November 18, more than 2.8 million votes remained unprocessed in that state. No candidate in American history has ever won this many popular votes and lost the presidency.

Clinton’s margin over Trump is greater than the margin in multiple historic elections, including since 1900. Despite Clinton’s history-making tally, though, she didn’t turn out enough voters in the Obama coalition to defeat Trump, and Democratic turnout did not increase as Republican turnout did in critical states. Furthermore, more than 35% of her popular vote tally is coming from just five states, with California leading the way.

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On January 20, Barack Obama (r) will hand the nuclear launch codes to new President Donald Trump (l). (Getty)

Because of the strong showing by third-party candidates, neither Clinton nor Trump won a majority of the popular votes cast in the 2016 presidential election. A candidate won the majority in the last three elections, but there was only a plurality of the vote won in the 18 elections before that point.

Here are the results as of November 18, according to the Cook Political Report:

Clinton: 63,049,607 47.9%
Trump: 61,610,484 46.8%

Here are the popular vote results as of November 18 from, which is also keeping an updated tally:

Clinton: 63,037,875 47.74%
Trump: 61,645,235 46.68%

That’s fueling calls in some corners to abolish the Electoral College, which Trump won 306-232 (unless his slim lead in Michigan somehow shifts as canvassing continues); Trump is president-elect because he won the popular vote in the swing states and thus was able to win the electoral votes in enough states to best Clinton in the Electoral College (which technically votes in December). Those who support the Electoral College say that it gives a voice to all Americans as candidates must compete in all states and for all minds; Trump has said that, if the contest was for the popular votes, he would have competed differently, campaigning in places like California and New York and perhaps found a different outcome there.

The only presidential candidate in American history ever to best Clinton in the number of popular votes: Barack Obama, twice. It’s theoretically possible that Clinton could still surpass at least one of his electoral tallies, though, as more California votes are counted in particular due to absentee ballots.

Turnout is up by 2%, according to the Cook Political Report. Donald Trump also made history; his popular vote tally, while under Clinton’s, is more than all Republican presidential candidates other than George W. Bush in 2004, and he’s coming close to surpassing Bush. Trump now ranks #5 in all-time presidential popular vote numbers.

Clinton made history in several ways.

Here’s how:

She Ranks Number Three in All-Time Popular Vote Results

Hillary Clinton, President Barack Obama, and former President Bill Clinton wave to the crowd after a rally on Independence Mall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, November 07, 2016. About 40,000 people flooded Independence Mall in Philadelphia. (Getty)

Hillary Clinton, President Barack Obama, and former President Bill Clinton wave to the crowd after a rally on Independence Mall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, November 07, 2016. About 40,000 people flooded Independence Mall in Philadelphia. (Getty)

Here is how her popular vote total stacks up with the top 10 popular vote tallies of any presidential candidate in U.S. history, according to 270toWin.

1. Barack Obama 2008: 69,456,897
2. Barack Obama 2012: 65,446,032
3. Hillary Clinton 2016: 63,049,607 (as of November 18)
4. George W. Bush 2004 62,039,073
5. Donald Trump 2016: 61,610,484 (as of November 18)
6. Mitt Romney 2012 60,589,084
7.  John McCain 2008: 59,934,814
8. John Kerry 2004: 59,027,478
9. Ronald Reagan 1984: 54,455,000
10. Al Gore 2000: 50,996,582
(#11 is George W. Bush 2000: 50,456,062)

She is One of Only Four Presidential Candidates to Win the Popular Vote but Lose the Electoral College

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Al Gore said he strongly disagreed with the results of the 2000 election, but accepted it. (Getty)

Only three other presidential candidates have also won the popular vote, while losing the Electoral College.

None won the popular vote by such a margin – not even close.

They are:

Al Gore, 2000: Lost the presidential election to George W. Bush but won the popular vote by 543,816 votes.

Andrew Jackson, 1824: Jackson won the popular vote but lost the presidency in the House of Representatives because neither candidate reached the threshold for victory in the Electoral College. Jackson also had more electoral votes at the onset.

Grover Cleveland, 1888: Lost the presidential election to Republican Benjamin Harrison despite leading by 90,000 popular votes.

Her Popular Vote Margin Has Exceeded The Winner in Some Historic Elections

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1962: US statesman John F Kennedy, 35th president of the USA, making a speech. (Getty)

Clinton’s margin is larger than the margin of the victor in some historic presidential elections. Consider the 1960 election between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy. Kennedy won the popular vote by a slim margin. According to 270toWin:

Kennedy: 34,227,096
Nixon: 34,107,646

Nixon prevailed over Hubert Humphrey in 1968 also by a small margin.

Richard Nixon: 31,710,470
Hubert H. Humphrey: 30,898,055

Close margins were common in the early part of the last century. Here are some of the elections with closer margins than Clinton’s margin over Trump:

Woodrow Wilson: 9,129,606
Charles E. Hughes: 8,538,221

William Taft: 7,678,908
William J. Bryan: 6,409,104

William McKinley: 7,207,923
William J. Bryan: 6,358,133

William McKinley: 7,104,779
William J. Bryan: 6,502,925

Grover Cleveland: 5,556,918
Benjamin Harrison: 5,176,108

Before that point the margins of the victors were smaller than Clinton’s margin, but it’s an unfair comparison because the popular vote totals were altogether so small (after all, many Americans were not allowed to vote).

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