Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Hillary Clinton Takes Popular Vote Lead in 2016 General Election

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton took the lead in the national popular vote in the 2016 presidential election at 3:25 a.m. Pacific Standard Time on Wednesday, November 9th.  Precincts in Los Angeles County, California put her ahead of Republican challenger Donald Trump in the national popular vote.

Secretary Clinton's lead is likely to hold and even increase as outstanding vote-by-mail ballots in California and Washington state are counted through the remainder of November.  Secretary Clinton is the fifth presidential candidate in history who won the national popular vote, but lost the presidency.  The others were Andrew Jackson in 1824 (who lost to John Quincy Adams), Samuel Tilden in 1876 (who lost to Rutherford Hayes), Grover Cleveland in 1888 (who lost to Benjamin Harrison) and Al Gore in 2000 (who lost to George W. Bush).

President-elect Donald Trump won the 2016 election by one of the smallest popular vote percentages in modern U.S. history.  If Mr. Trump's current share of the national popular vote holds (47.6 percent), the only presidential candidates to be elected with smaller shares of the popular vote in the past century were Richard Nixon in 1968 (43.4 percent) and Bill Clinton in 1992 (43.0 percent).  In both of those elections, third-party candidates garnered more than 10 percent of the national popular vote (George Wallace won 13.5 percent in 1968; Ross Perot won 18.9 percent in 1992).

Secretary Clinton's win in California exceeded 28 percentage points.  This was larger than President Barack Obama's victory over Mitt Romney in 2012 (23 percentage points).  Secretary Clinton won Orange County, the first Democratic presidential nominee to carry that one-time Republican bastion since the Franklin Roosevelt landslide of 1936.   Orange County once was an essential building block of Ronald Reagan's gubernatorial and presidential victories in the 1960s, '70s and '80s.  Demographic changes in the past generation, especially a growing Latino population, have transformed it from a Republican stalwart into a jurisdiction that supported a Democratic presidential nominee.

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