The Electoral College, as much as you may dislike it, is our method of electing presidents. Candidates base their campaign strategies on the system and all the debate about the popular vote matters none to the election of the president. The outcome of the Electoral College was clearly in Trump’s favor with 306 to Clinton’s 232.
Trump Electoral College Votes
Was this a landslide victory? Should the popular vote be considered in answering this question? Let’s hold off on the latter and focus on how rare is a 56.88% Electoral Vote win?
Not rare at all, as it turns out. As you can see from the graph on the right, there have been 45 wins with higher percentage of Electoral College votes, including 2 victories by Presidents Regan, Clinton, and Obama. Republican George H. W. Bush beat this margin by over 2,200 basis points. Yes, over 22 percentage points higher. That’s almost 40% better than Trump and pales in comparison to Reagan’s true mandates with wins of 97.58% and 90.89% of the Electoral College vote.
Meanwhile, Trump’s win ranks in the bottom quartile at 46th best out of the 58 presidential elections. His Electoral College victory was better than the victories by Kennedy, Nixon, Carter and George W. Bush.
Since the Electoral College victory was well below the winning margin by the most recent election winner, President Obama, and even further behind the wins of Republicans, President Reagan and President George H. W. Bush, let’s turn our attention to the popular vote tally.
Trump Popular Vote Percentage
It seems the numbers here are rare indeed, but not in a mandate or landslide sense. With 62.98 million popular votes and being clearly beaten by Secretary Clinton who received 65.84 popular votes or over 2% more, Trump’s results in the head-to-head contest is the third worst showing in presidential election history. Yes, only two outcomes for a president were worse than Trump’s showing. At least he wasn’t last, right? He joins just 4 other presidents whose opponents won more votes than they did.
When you also consider that less than 105,000 votes across the states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin were the difference in the Electoral College outcome (0.077%), there leaves little doubt in the honest answer to these questions.
Mandate? Landslide? Exaggeration?
Exaggeration! No other explanation.