With the tabulating of the popular vote in the presidential election nearly complete, Taegan Goddard has a line this morning that rings true: “The election was close but not really.”
That sounds about right. President Obama finished with 332 electoral votes — more than 60% of the available total — which points to a clear victory. And what of the popular vote? As of this morning, there are still some votes on the West Coast and Arizona to be counted, but Obama has about 62.3 million votes, while Mitt Romney stands at about 58.9 million votes. In percentage terms, that’s 50.6% to 47.9%.
Given the number of outstanding votes remaining in California, we may yet see Obama’s popular vote margin go from 2.7% to 3%, but that’s roughly where things currently stand.
I mention this because there was some question last week about whether Obama’s 2012 totals would fall short of George W. Bush’s totals. They did not. This year, the Democratic president topped his predecessor in raw popular vote and electoral votes — and this applies to Bush’s victories in both 2000 and 2004.