President Barack Obama earned a higher percentage of the national popular vote in his 2012 re-election than did George W. Bush in his 2004 re-election.
As of December 30th, Obama had won 51.04% of the total national popular vote (65,892,518
Obama votes out of 129,099,912 total votes cast).
President Bush garnered 50.73% of the national popular vote in 2004 (62,040,610 votes out of 122,293,548 total votes cast). As votes continued to be tallied in the weeks after Election Day, Obama surpassed Bush's figure on November 19th [when Obama had won 50.746% of the total national popular vote (63,798,599 Obama votes out of 125,721,735 total votes cast)].
On Tuesday, November 20th, Obama surpassed Ronald Reagan's 50.75% share of the national popular vote in 1980 (43,903,230 votes out of 86,509,678 total votes cast).
Since the Civil War (1861-65), just two other Democratic presidential nominees have won higher shares of national popular vote than President Obama did in 2008 and 2012:
(1) Franklin Roosevelt won between 53.39% and
60.80% of the popular vote in 1932, 1936, 1940 and 1944 and
(2) Lyndon Johnson won 61.05% in 1964.
Mr. Obama won 52.87% of the national popular vote in 2008. His share of the popular vote declined when he was re-elected, a rarity for a re-elected president. Obama's 69,498,516 votes in 2008 is the largest popular vote total in U.S. history.
Democrats Grover Cleveland (1884, 1892), Woodrow Wilson (1912, 1916), Harry Truman (1948), John F. Kennedy (1960) and Bill Clinton (1992, 1996) won the presidency but each failed to win a majority (50.0%) of the national popular vote. Jimmy Carter (1976) won a majority of the popular vote. Grover Cleveland (1888) and Al Gore (2000) won pluralities (not majorities) of the popular vote, but failed to win electoral vote majorities. Samuel Tilden won a majority of the popular vote (50.92%) in 1876, yet lost the election in the Electoral
College after controversial post-election legal and political wrangling
that was enmeshed with Reconstruction issues.