"Clinton’s 2.3-million-popular-vote plurality over Trump depends on the votes in a single state: California. Clinton has more than a 4-million-vote plurality over Trump there. In the other 49 states plus the District of Columbia, Trump actually has a 1.7-million-popular-vote plurality over Clinton."


Is this true? Does Trump win the popular vote of the rest of the entire country were it not for the single state of California?

  • 25
    Downvoting because it's a completely pointless question. California represents about 10% of the population of the US. Commented Dec 11, 2016 at 22:08
  • 10
    How is this a pointless question? Because you don't like the answer?
    – Harrichael
    Commented Jan 18, 2017 at 21:20
  • 17
    @Harrichael It's a pointless question in the sense that it is very arbitrary - mostly this fact is being used to try and imply that the vote difference was negligable or unimportant, but discarding the whole of California is about as meaningful as saying "Trump would have won the popular vote if you take away all the Clinton voters". Commented Jan 26, 2017 at 17:55
  • 15
    Another analogy is "I would have won that game if you didn't have that player that scored 3 goals". It's technically true, but not useful in most situations. Of course, such a statement could be used to make a point about the geographics of voting habits more reasonably, but that's not the context I've seen it used in, at least. I agree this question doesn't impose that context, however, and downvoting it isn't reasonable - I can understand the knee jerk response after seeing it used in the bad context so much though. Commented Jan 26, 2017 at 18:03
  • 14
    Odds are for every presidential election if you remove California, the republican candidate would win, and if you removed Texas instead the democratic candidate would win. Thats why Midwestern states, with significant populations and a mix of cities and rural populations are the biggest targets for campaigning. Commented Sep 7, 2017 at 19:33

2 Answers 2


Yes, by a margin of 1,656,603 votes.

I'm using the first results that came up in Google. They certainly seem reliable (especially what I believe is the official site for that state), but if there are any objections, I can find others.

California's Secretary of State counted 8,543,280 votes for Clinton and 4,373,049 for Trump, a difference of 4,170,231 in favor of Clinton.

The source used by the Wikipedia page for the election, United States Presidential Election Results, gives figures for the nationwide vote close enough to that in the question: 65,149,785 votes for Clinton and 62,636,157 for Trump, a difference of 2,513,628 for Clinton.

Subtracting California's numbers from those nationwide for each candidate gives 56,606,505 votes for Clinton and 58,263,108 for Trump, a difference of 1,656,603 in favor of Trump.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation about the political implications of the answer has been moved to chat.
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Dec 7, 2016 at 0:50


The current national popular vote results are

  • Hillary Clinton 65,737,041
  • Donald Trump 62,896,704

A difference of 2,840,337 votes.

The current California popular vote results are

  • Hillary Clinton 8,753,788
  • Donald Trump 4,483,810

A difference of 4,269,978 votes.

If California's popular vote were removed Donald Trump would be ahead by 1,429,641 votes.

Source: http://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/index.html

  • 9
    Your vote counts are slightly out of date.
    – ff524
    Commented Dec 1, 2016 at 21:13
  • 3
    There is no such thing as a "nationwide popular vote", so there are no results of one. There is only a (mostly meaningless, due to variations between states) "nationwide total of statewide popular votes".
    – Ben Voigt
    Commented Dec 12, 2016 at 20:08
  • 4
    @BenVoigt I'm not sure what you mean. The popular vote certainly exists and the nation wide popular vote is just the popular vote of the entire nation, rather than of a state, city, district, age range, sex, religion, etc. I never claimed that the nation wide popular vote is something that the government specifically tracks or considers during an election.
    – JonK
    Commented Dec 12, 2016 at 20:20
  • 1
    @JonK: Eligibility requirements aren't uniform across the 50 separate states (for example, whether voting eligibility is restored to felons). You're adding together apples and oranges... which may be interesting to do, but it should also be explained that the total adds together votes that aren't comparable because they were cast under different rules
    – Ben Voigt
    Commented Dec 12, 2016 at 20:25
  • 8
    @BenVoigt As far as I know the term 'popular vote' only refers to votes by the electorate, people able to vote, and doesn't consider that all people had the same opportunity to be electorates. A quick definition search doesn't mention opportunity or uniformity of rules.
    – JonK
    Commented Dec 12, 2016 at 20:32

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .