Popular Vote 2016: How California Drove Hillary Clinton’s Lead

Singer Andra Day (R) reaches to hug Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during a fundraiser at the Civic Center Auditorium October 13, 2016 in San Francisco, California. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Singer Andra Day (R) reaches to hug Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during a fundraiser at the Civic Center Auditorium October 13, 2016 in San Francisco, California. (Getty)

How dominant is California when it comes to driving Hillary Clinton’s more than 1.2 million popular vote lead over President-Elect Donald Trump?

The overall numbers obscure the fact that one state gave Clinton her edge: Populous California.

Clinton popular vote lead overall: At least 1.23 million.
Clinton popular vote lead in California alone: At least 3.1 million.

(The “at least” comes into play because California was still counting unprocessed ballots as of November 16 – more than 3.4 million of them – but since the state went so large for Clinton, it’s expected that California will just add to her margin even more.)

California contributed more than 10% of Clinton’s overall popular vote tally. Without California in the popular vote totals, Trump leads the rest of the states combined by more than 1.87 million popular votes.

Five states contributed to more than 35% of Clinton’s popular vote totals.

Here are the latest popular vote totals for the 2016 presidential election according to a spreadsheet compiled by Dave Wasserman and Cook Political Report:

Clinton: 62,568,373
Trump: 61,336,159

If you removed only California’s popular votes from the total, this is the result you would get, as of November 16:

Clinton: 55,889,446
Trump: 57,760,819

Trump also leads in the swing states as a whole:

Trump: 22,056,165
Clinton: 21,182,086
Trump swing state popular vote lead: 874,079

More than 10.8 million ballots have been counted in California so far (and, as noted, there were still more than 3.4 million California ballots still not yet processed as of November 16). In 2012, 13,038,547 people voted in California. The state with the smallest vote total in 2016 as a point of comparison: Wyoming, where just 248,892 people voted.

The Electoral College does factor the population differences into the equation; California awards 55 electoral votes. Wyoming awards 3. Wyoming is not a swing state. However, states with low vote totals are, and thus get some attention from candidates who would otherwise be parked in California for much of the election, ignoring the rest of the country (if elections were determined by popular vote).

New Hampshire had 731,931 votes cast in 2016; because it’s a swing state, it saw repeated candidate visits from candidates seeking its 4 electoral votes (Clinton won an exceptionally close contest there.)

votes counted

When will the votes all be counted? (Getty)

Clinton’s large popular vote totals – third in history after Barack Obama’s two elections – have sparked increased criticism about the Electoral College, which is how Trump won the presidency.

Those who support the Electoral College argue that, without it, candidates would engage in a very different campaign. Instead of barnstorming throughout all corners of the country, rural and urban alike, they would focus their time and resources on a couple states (California and New York mostly), ignoring the rest of the country and its issues. Trump and Electoral College supporters argue that if popular vote won the presidency, the candidates would have campaigned differently, and it’s impossible to predict how that would have changed the popular vote calculus.

For comparison purposes, here are the 2012 and 2008 popular vote totals:

2012, according to 270toWin
Barack Obama 65,446,032
Mitt Romney 60,589,084

2008, per 270toWin
Barack Obama 69,456,897
John McCain 59,934,814

According to the National Archives and Records Administration, “The founding fathers established it (the Electoral College) in the Constitution as a compromise between election of the President by a vote in Congress and election of the President by a popular vote of qualified citizens.”

Trump’s popular vote totals are also impressive; they are the fifth highest in history behind Obama’s two elections, Clinton, and George W. Bush.

Here’s a breakdown of how Clinton built her popular vote lead. More than 35% of Clinton’s popular vote totals came from these five states:

1. California: 10.67% of Clinton’s popular vote totals came from California. (6,678,927 votes)
2. Florida: 7.2% of Clinton’s popular vote totals came from Florida. (4,501,455 votes)
3. New York: 6.6% of Clinton’s popular vote totals came from New York. (4,149,500 votes)
4. Texas: 6.2% of Clinton’s popular vote totals came from Texas. (3,868,291 votes)
5. Illinois: 4.85% of Clinton’s popular vote totals came from Illinois. (3,034,833 votes)

Trump’s top popular vote tally came in Florida, where he earned 4,615,910 votes (7.5% of his total).

In those states, Clinton leads Trump by this many votes:
1. California: Clinton has a 3.1 million vote margin- three times her popular vote edge.
2. Florida: Clinton is behind 114,455 votes in Florida, so that state did not contribute to her popular vote edge.
3. New York: Clinton has a 1.5 million vote margin in New York.
4. Texas: Clinton is behind by 815,061 votes in Texas, so that state did not contribute to her popular vote lead.
5. Illinois: Clinton leads by 909,412 votes.




Why Hillary Clinton is not president .

1) she is a liar !

2) she believes her lies to be true !

3) she is a liar !


Trump is even worse (He is the Biggest Liar Of All Times). The last time (in year 2000 Bust elected by losing popular vote) causing the World Financial Crisis in 2008. Be prepared for another World Financial Crisis under Trump (probably in 2018 where poor people will get even poorer but rich tycoon like Trump will laugh all the way to the bank once again). Thanks Electoral College System!


How delusional can you be. It is literally an article about how democrates won the popular vote and lost the electoral college.


Get rid of California’s illegal immigrants who voted illegally and Trump won the Popular Vote by millions ,A LANDSLIDE victory :-) and we must clean out those vermin before we can have real honest elections ! Punish ALL VOTER FRAUD ! with deportation or jail time


Are you kidding me? From year 1900 to 2016, only two presidential candidates won the popular vote but lost the election and both are democrats (year 2000 and year 2016). And you are telling me the EC system favours democrats???


From 1900 to 1999 (100 years) EC works fine since the winners also won the popular vote. However in the recent 17 years (2000 to 2016), two out of the total 5 elections (2000 and 2016) had been won by the candidates that lost the popular vote. Nowadays US is the only (so-called democratic) country in the world where the President did not win the popular veto in the Presidential Election (and it happened twice in the past 17 years). Ironically even Indonesia has a two-round majority system that ensure the President has the people’s mandate (win over 50% of the popular veto).


The USA is not a democracy, it is a republic. Thirty states’ votes are going to Trump, only 20 to Clinton. Without the electoral college, most states would have no voice in electing a president. The office could be won by the votes of about a dozen large metropolitan areas. This is why we have congress set up as it is and why we have the electoral college. A democracy is one of the worst forms of government and historically democracies eventually collapse.


Every citizen should have equal weight in determining the highest office in the land. Clearly the EC system has 40% failure rate in the past 17 years.


We should let ONE SINGLE state determine what’s best the entire country. You’re so smart. If it had been the opposite and Trump won the popular vote, we wouldn’t be hearing anything else about it. SORE LOSERS!


Thanks oldteacher: People need to understand what democracy is, The founders of this country forshaw this and want to give the minority a say in the way the country moves.

Nina Nethery

old teacher-you are very correct in your statement that this is a Republic and not a democracy. Our system of presidential elections was set up in such a way as to prevent large populous areas from having more of a voice than less populous states and also to give a voice to the states that are primarily rural-those states that put food on our table. To give states such as California and New York with their dense populations the power to choose our leaders would be a catastrophic mistake. The fairest method would be to use both the popular vote and the electoral votes to elect a president. The popular vote in each state would be divided by a percentage for each candidate and the electoral votes would be awarded according to those figures. This election is OVER and it’s time for these protesters to come to terms with it, get back in school and/or work, quit destroying property, blocking highways and roads, and act like mature human beings. Oh, and I would like to mention something that a late paternal uncle said back in the mid-40’s when he said that a democracy would NEVER stand because the electorate would become so demanding of free services and that is what we are seeing in this time in our history.

Tom Freeman

Idiot, the electoral college favors country bumpkin conservatives. A vote in Iowa is 4 times more powerful than one in California (in electoral influence).


Be grateful…if it were just popular vote Kalifornia could vote you into oblivion and you would be totally hepless to resist. Total abortion would be law of the land and the lgtbm[whatever] movement would cease to exist. A Republic is the only hope for the minority to have a say in anthing at all.


It… actually favors smaller, less populated states more than any particular party. Many of those states lean heavily Republican, but not all of them. It’s also deliberately undemocratic, having been intended as a buffer between a populace who may not have much information about the candidates and selection of the president, though it’s been nearly 2 centuries since that was relevant.


Thankfully our forefathers had the right mind to create a Republic rather than a Democracy. Rule by the majority creates moral relativism. In Sparta, a Democracy, the majority decreed the laws and the will of the people. They killed children who were deemed not strong enough to survive, disfigured, or too small.


are you daft? Obama has been printing trillions of dollars and the fed has not been raising interest rates. that is the perfect recipe for another financial crisis. They should never have bailed out the banks in 2008, they were the people who caused the 2008 crisis and government gave them a big fat cheque for doing it!!! the Obama administration has been a disaster from start to finish. they are leaving Trump with the economy in horrendous shape, with the worst debt in history and you want to start pointing fingers at Trump before he is even in office??? you have completely lost your mind


Well then don’t stay poor and stupid. I intend to prosper over the next eight years. The fact that I am also able to stay intoxicated on the constant liberal whine makes life sweet indeed.


By that standard, Trump shouldn’t be president, because he’s even worse. Politifact, or even just basic checking shows that he’s told more and more serious lies.


The pathetic liberal Hollywood elite didn’t get their way into putting Killary into office. How about she’s an incompetent murdering vindictive thug who more than two thirds off the country can’t stand or trust. It’s “her time”for prison

Rob Kaufman

Gee, thank you for sharing your pathetic opinion, I love seeing opinions from lame Trumpbots online, I think if anyone belongs in prison it is the rapist Donny Trump,but I understand that you worship rapists


And if you were open minded and not so brainwashed Rob Kaufman, you would have read the Wikileaks showing that the Hillary teams intentions were to make a smoke screen when Bill Clintons multiple Rapes became front & center. They specifically said that the strategy would be to find women and even if untrue accuse Trump of every type of crime Bill committed so people would be confused and think that they were all bad & corrupt. Have you looked into the NYPD’s investigation into PIZZAGATE ? Or John Podestas involvement with SPIRIT COOKING? ADDS a little stench to the entire Democrat Hirearchy.


Rapist. LOL

Time to get over it and enjoy the coming prosperity, Dem-bot.

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