Mad about Trump winning the electoral college, but losing the popular vote? Check out John Quincy Adams and Rutherford B. Hayes.
I’m still nauseous from the giant screw up America just made electing an entitled, unqualified man baby to be the leader of the free world. The only thing that settles my stomach is looking at data. (Or should I say daTUMS. Pun very much intended.)
So what I wanted to look at today was the relationship between the popular vote and the electoral vote. So I got data from the most reputable source on the internet, Wikipedia. The plot below shows the popular vote percentage margin of victory for the winner on the x-axis (negative numbers if they lost the popular vote) against the percentage of the electoral college that they received. Kind of a confusing relationship. In the past, some ten point victories have garnered only about 60% of the electoral college votes whereas more recently with Reagan a 10 point victory got him about 90% of the electoral votes. Next, notice Trump on the left of the plot. Trump got nearly 60% of the electoral college votes and lost by 1.7% (and still growing….). What’s really alarming about this is that two other presidents have actually lost the popular vote WORSE than Trump and still been elected. John Quincy Adams actually lost both the popular vote AND got less electoral votes, but since no one got a majority of electoral college votes the decision of who would be president went to the Congress and they chose Adams even though Jackson got about 11% more of the popular vote and 11 more electoral votes than Adams. How angry would Twitter be if that happened today (Answer: very angry). In 1876, Hayes lost the popular vote by about 3 percentage points, but squeaked out a 185 to 184 win in the electoral college (with turnout at 81.8%!). Next in line on the list of presidents who lost the popular vote is none other than Donald Trump, who lost by almost 2% but got a greater percentage of the electoral votes than George W. Bush did in either of his victories. So we actually have seen presidents who lost the popular vote by more than Trump, but not since the late 1800s.
Next I looked at vote margin against the percentage of the electoral college. No one has ever lost the popular vote my more votes that Trump and it’s not even close. Of course, it’s not really a fair comparison to compare Trump to Hayes, but when Bush lost the popular vote to Gore, it was at least relatively close. Trump is going to end up losing the popular vote by possible 2 million votes. That’s a lot of people.
Here is what that plot looks like if you zoom in on the origin. There is Donald Trump way out to the left by himself nearly 2 million votes behind Clinton.