Though he appears certain to win the Electoral College vote and become the 45th president of the United States, Donald Trump suffered a loss in the popular vote to Hillary Clinton that has reached historic proportions. In fact, Trump will become the first president to earn fewer than 50 percent of all votes both in the general election and in his party’s primaries.
Clinton, on the other hand, appears set to top the total number of votes earned by President Barack Obama in 2012 — but will be denied the White House.
In 2012, running against Republican Mitt Romney, Obama totaled 65,446,032 votes, according to figures posted by the National Archives. As of Wednesday evening, according to a running count by the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, Clinton is just 300,657 votes shy of Obama’s 2012 number with hundreds of thousands of ballots yet to be counted in several states.
California alone still has at least 527,500 uncounted ballots, according to figures from the California Secretary of State’s office as of November 30. With Clinton continuing to win more than 62 percent of the vote there, the California ballots alone will likely be sufficient to put her total past Obama’s figure of four years ago. If she passes Obama, Clinton will have received the second-highest raw number of votes of any candidate in American history, with only Obama in 2008 doing better.
In addition, her absolute margin of popular vote victory — that is, the percentage of the vote by which she leads Trump — is already better than the winning margin achieved by 10 elected U.S. presidents, according to historical totals compiled by the U.S. Election Atlas.
Nine of those elected presidents — excluding Trump, who has technically not been elected yet and won’t be until the Electoral College votes on December 19 — are:
John Quincy Adams, 1884, lost popular vote by 10.44 percent.
Rutherford B. Hayes, 1876, lost popular vote by 3.0 percent.
Benjamin Harrison, 1888, lost popular vote by 0.83 percent.
George W. Bush, 2000, lost popular vote by 0.51 percent.
James Garfield, 1880, won by 0.09 percent.
John F. Kennedy, 1960, won by 0.17 percent.
Grover Cleveland, 1884, won by 0.57 percent.
Richard M. Nixon, 1968, won by 0.7 percent.
James Polk, 1844, won by 1.45 percent.
As of the evening of November 30, according to Cook Political Report numbers, Clinton’s 65,145,375 total votes were 1.9 percentage points better than Trump’s 62,623,869. That figure puts Clinton just 0.17 points behind an 11th elected president, Jimmy Carter, who in 1976 defeated incumbent President Gerald Ford by 2.07 percent.
Clinton leads Trump by 2,521,506 votes.
The nearly unprecedented scale of Trump’s popular vote loss to Clinton is compounded by the fact that the current president-elect also won the Republican nomination with only 44.95 percent of the total votes cast in the party’s primary elections.
In the 12 presidential elections since 1972, when the current primary process went into effect, only five of the 24 major-party nominees have lost more than 50 percent of the popular vote in both the primaries and general election.
Only one of those candidates has actually been elected president — Donald Trump.
While Trump’s popular vote totals make him a historically unpopular incoming president, the latest Gallup poll showing Trump’s favorable rating among the United States public is also a first for modern presidents.
Gallup first polled presidential approval ratings in 1945. Since then, not a single elected president had ever entered the White House with a favorable rating below 50 percent. But in the Gallup poll taken last week, Trump polled just 42 percent “favorable” compared to 55 percent who viewed him unfavorably.
Even George W. Bush, the last president prior to Trump to win an election while losing the popular vote, entered office with a 59 percent approval rating.
By winning mostly small states across the south and midwest, however, Trump was able to compile 306 electoral votes, defeating Clinton by 74 votes — assuming that the electors vote the way their states direct them to vote on December 19.
[Featured Images by Steve Pope/Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]