2020 Popular Vote Election Results: Biden Gains More Votes Than Any U.S. Presidential Candidate Ever (Updated)


As the 2020 election results are still being tallied, it appears that Democratic nominee Joe Biden is still ahead in the national popular vote. As of 4:10 P.M. ET Friday afternoon, the New York Times is reporting Biden had more than 74 million votes nationwide, compared to nearly 70 million for President Donald Trump — a difference of 4.1 million votes. If Biden’s lead holds, it would be the seventh time in the last eight elections that Democrats won the popular vote, according to the AP

And as Politico reported Wednesday, Biden has broken Barack Obama’s record for most votes ever cast for a presidential candidate; according to the Federal Elections Commission, Obama earned 69,498,516 votes in 2008, his first election. As it stands on Friday afternoon, Biden has earned 74,041,691 votes — over 4.5 million more votes than the president he was VP for.

Biden also has the lead Electoral College votes, based on projections from multiple outlets. Our current tally as of 4:10 P.M. ET Friday, November 6, has Biden with 253 Electoral College votes and Trump with 214. For days now, the nation and the country have waited to see how Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Nevada would factor into those numbers. Biden took leads in Georgia and Pennsylvania Friday, and both margins grew throughout the day as Biden held on to leads he already had in Arizona and Nevada. A projected win in Pennsylvania would put his projected Electoral College total over 270, as would projected win in any two of the other states.

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If Trump were to somehow win the Electoral College in 2020, it would be the third time in 20 years that the winner of the national popular vote did not win the presidency. That would likely add to tensions around the nature of the Electoral College and the institution’s ugly history. The Electoral College is likely to again be a focus of election discussions, no matter what happens, as calls for its abolition could intensify.

The hypothetical possibility that Biden could win the national popular vote even if he doesn’t win the Electoral College resembles the scenario that played out in 2016. That year, according to New York Times results, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton got close to 66 million votes compared to Trump’s almost 63 million. Despite winning the popular vote, Clinton lost the Electoral College 306–232 after Trump won a handful of key states. But that wasn’t the first time there was a discrepancy between the popular vote and Electoral College tally. In the 2000 election between Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore, Gore won the popular vote by about 500,000 votes but lost the Electoral College 271–266 after the U.S. Supreme Court stopped a recount in Florida.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on November 4. It was updated on November 5 and 6 with the latest figures and additional context.

Want more from Teen Vogue? Check this out: 2020 Election Results: Biden vs. Trump and Congressional Election Results Still Being Counted



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