Dave Wasserman of Cook Political Report and FiveThirtyEight has been tracking the numbers day by day for weeks and says they’re now official.
All 50 states + DC now certified:
Clinton: 65,844,610 (48.2%)
Trump: 62,979,636 (46.1%)
Others: 7,804,213 (5.7%)https://t.co/j58GaxfPmH
— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) December 20, 2016
Trump’s total of nearly 63 million votes is almost a million votes better than the second-largest total by a Republican in history. You might guess that that distinction belongs to Mitt Romney; after all, with the population increasing every four years, chances are that each successive nominee will bank more votes than the last. Not so, though. Romney has the third-most votes by a Republican in history. McCain has the fourth-largest amount. Second place belongs to George W. Bush, who received a little more than 62 million votes for his reelection bid in 2004, a gigantic improvement of nearly 12 million ballots over his 2000 total. Both parties’ voters were out in force in 2004 for the first presidential election since 9/11 and the Iraq war. It took 12 years of population growth before Republicans were able to improve on Dubya’s total, but Trump did it. Bush’s 2004 campaign does retain one title, though: It’s the only time in the last 25 years that a Republican has won the popular vote.
As for Hillary, her margin over Trump of more than two points was four times as large as that of Al Gore, the last popular-vote winner to lose the electoral college, who won by half a point in 2000. She finished with the third-most votes of any presidential candidate in history, just slightly behind Obama’s 2012 mark (by less than 60,000 votes) and more than 3.5 million votes behind his blockbuster 2008 total, which remains the biggest haul in American history. At 69.4 million votes, it’s possible that O’s 2008 benchmark will survive 2020 as well. As for which national pollster ended up getting closest to the mark, none were spot on — but the overall RCP average, projecting a win of 3.3 points by Clinton, wasn’t far from the target:
Only two polls measured correctly that Clinton would hit 48 percent and no poll had Trump doing as well as 46 percent. IBD/TIPP was the only one to have him as high as 45 percent — and ironically, IBD/TIPP was the lone survey that missed the mark overall by predicting that he would end up with more votes than Clinton. Tough year for the data nerds.