Critics say she failed to energize the democratic base. However vote totals show her best shortcomings were in counties the opposed Barack Obama the most.

You are watching: Did hillary clinton get more votes than obama

Andrew mc glitter December 2, 2016

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A Clinton rally site in Cleveland on November 6Carlos Barria / Reuters
It now seems most likely that Hillary Clinton will acquire fewer votes than Barack Obama go in 2012. An ext distressingly for Democrats, she fared worse in Democratic-leaning cities that anchor swing states, consisting of Detroit, Cleveland, and Milwaukee. To doubters on the left, that’s evidence of a project that dragged that is feet, and a candidate who took her base for granted. Her defeat, in their minds, to be an unforced error.


But the numbers show something different. There’s no inquiry Clinton faltered in some autonomous cities, but the gaps in between her haul and Obama’s in those locations were modest. The vast bulk of she deficit came instead from counties the Obama lost in 2012: they didn’t favor him, but they really hated her.

As of Thursday, ballot counts gathered by the Atlas the U.S. Presidential Elections show Clinton got fewer votes 보다 Obama go in 87 percent that U.S. Counties. That sounds worse than it yes, really is. Some of those counties room pretty small, and also the continuing to be 11 percent include a few megacities, such as Los Angeles and also Chicago. Let’s placed it one more way: audit for population density, she score worse than Obama in areas that are house to roughly half the civilization who vote this year, and also scored the same or better than Obama with the other half.


Where walk she fare the worst? heat them up, and also it no look good—they’re a bevy that heavily democratic counties.


CountyPrimary cityObama 2012Clinton 2016Deficit
Wayne County, MIDetroit595,846519,444-76,402
Cuyahoga County, OHCleveland447,273398,271-49,002
Milwaukee County, WIMilwaukee332,438288,986-43,452
Erie County, NYBuffalo237,356197,686-39,670
Sonoma County, CASanta Rosa153,942116,027-37,915
Macomb County, MIDetroit suburbs208,016176,317-31,699
Honolulu County, HIHonolulu204,349175,696-28,653
Suffolk County, NYGreater new York304,079276,953-27,126
Genesee County, MIFlint128,978102,751-26,227
Lucas County, OHToledo136,616110,833-25,783

With the exception of Macomb and also Suffolk, Clinton still won all these counties. She simply didn’t victory them together decisively as Obama did. That hurt her: Counties, unlike many states, space not winner-take-all, and also every vote counts toward the statewide full that determines that wins the electors. Clinton essential to operation up the score in democratic centers together high as she could to respond to Trump’s overwhelming lead among rural voters. As soon as she saw the for free well, they didn’t give her the votes.


But they didn’t expense her the election, either. Among the 2,700 counties whereby Clinton acquired fewer votes than Obama walk in 2012, she still organized her own in many of the places her predecessor won, winning numerous of them and also picking up 90 percent that his votes in the process. Every told, she ended up through a 1.8 million vote deficit compared with Obama in this communities. That seems like a lot. However that no her large problem.


It’s in the areas Obama lost that Clinton feel the most pain. In red counties, she received just 84 percent of the president’s votes in 2012, finishing 2.1 million behind. Also if Clinton matched Obama in turnout for every county he won that year, that wouldn’t erase she deep disadvantage in conservative areas that the president self couldn’t clinch.

Granted, things gain a little bit tricky in the totter states. In Wisconsin, Ohio, and also Michigan, if Clinton had actually matched 2012’s turnout in Obama-friendly counties, she might have been able come pull out victories. However these claims didn’t necessarily see Democrats stay home on choice Day. Rather, that seems likely that plenty of Obama voter flipped to Trump.


And Clinton’s critics miss crucial point: She actually performed better 보다 Obama did in almost 400 counties. Some of these locations are rather hefty, population-wise. Here’s where she surpassed her predecessor the most:


CountyPrimary cityObama 2012Clinton 2016Surplus
Cook County, ILChicago1,488,5371,611,869+123,332
Harris County, TXHouston587,044706,471+119,427
Los Angeles County, CALos Angeles2,216,9032,329,231+112,328
Maricopa County, AZPhoenix602,288702,907+100,619
Miami-Dade County, FLMiami541,440624,146+82,706
Travis County, TXAustin232,788306,475+73,687
Orange County, CAAnaheim512,440585,683+73,243
San Diego County, CASan Diego626,957694,091+67,134
Santa Clara County, CASan Jose450,818510,231+59,413
Orange County, FLOrlando273,665329,894+56,229

Clinton killed it in California (which still has 600,000 ballots left come count, plenty of of i m sorry will more than likely go Democratic, given the state’s blue status). And she performed an extremely well, compared with Obama, in numerous of the country’s significant population centers. If you variable in these successes, Clinton’s net turnout in reality tops Obama’s in the locations that went autonomous four years ago. In the end, she beat Obama’s take by 120,000 among those counties, through gains in the coastlines canceling she popular-vote casualty in the Rust Belt. That’s no a weak showing.


“Democrats did far better this time in places that were currently blue , and did worse in locations that were already red,” claimed Barry Burden, a political-science professor in ~ the university of Wisconsin, Madison. “It sort of is a fight of the countless versus the few. You include up those smaller sized rural places, and also they were sufficient to swamp the bigger metropolitan areas, and also even suburban counties.”

Unfortunately for Democrats, Clinton won in all the dorn places. Her solid showing in diverse, dense counties will have actually a ar in history. But because of the Electoral College, her surpluses in California didn’t aid her compensate for deficiencies in Michigan. And because she to be so deeply unpopular in conservative communities, her net turnout will still fall below Obama’s. There’s also the insurgent popular of trumped himself, who obtained 1.5 million voter over Romney. Some of them were Democrats.

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So Clinton won the well-known vote, yet she lost the election; she didn’t height her predecessor’s total, in spite of heavy turnout from places that preferred him the most. Democrats will have actually to figure out how to capitalize on she successes—while in ~ the exact same time preventing her defeats—come 2020.

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