AP FACT CHECK: No ‘landslide’ election win for Trump
WASHINGTON (AP) — In claiming that he scored “a massive landslide victory” in last month’s presidential election, Donald Trump turned history upside down.
In fact, his winning margin in the Electoral College is on the other end of the historical spectrum, far closer to the narrowest win in history than to the widest.
Speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” Trump claimed that “We had a massive landslide victory, as you know, in the Electoral College.” Hillary Clinton, he said, is “down to a very low number.” He added that Democrats “suffered one of the greatest defeats in the history of politics in this country.”
The final Electoral College margin was Trump 306, Clinton 232, for a winning percentage of just under 57 percent. That ranks this year’s outcome as the 13th-closest of the 58 presidential elections in U.S. history, according to a tally by Claremont McKenna College political scientist John Pitney.
Barack Obama won both of his presidential elections with bigger Electoral College margins: 61 percent in 2008 and 62 percent in 2012. Trump’s margin was narrower than all but two of the last 10 presidential elections — those of George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004.
Among history’s true Electoral College landslides: Franklin Roosevelt with 98 percent of the electoral votes in 1936, Ronald Reagan with 97.6 percent in 1984 and 90.9 percent in 1980, Abraham Lincoln with 91 percent in 1864 and Lyndon Johnson with 90 percent in 1964. And George Washington rolled up 100 percent in both of his elections.
Even Harry Truman edged Trump’s performance with just over 57 percent of the electoral votes in 1948. Truman’s loss had been so widely expected that the close race produced the famously erroneous headline “Dewey Defeats Truman” in the Chicago Daily Tribune.
As of Monday, Clinton held a lead in the popular vote of more than 2.6 million votes, a margin over Trump of about 2 percentage points. Tuesday is the deadline for states to certify their final election results.