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Trump's Electoral College Win Was Not the Biggest Since Reagan

by Peter Alexander. and Carrie Dann /
President Donald Trump calls on reporters during a news conference, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017, in the East Room of the White House in Washington.Andrew Harnik / AP

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Donald Trump said Thursday that his victory in the 2016 election was “the biggest electoral college win since Ronald Reagan.”

It’s a claim that Trump has repeated numerous times since November. And by any measure, it is flatly and demonstrably false.

Trump officially received 304 electoral college votes when all the counting was over; he would have notched 306 from his performance on Election Day, but two “faithless” electors did not vote for him when the Electoral College met in December.

In comparison, in 2012, Barack Obama received 332 electoral votes. And that was significantly less than Obama's 2008 showing, when he won 365 electoral votes.

Trump’s 304 total does not even mark the highest tally for just a Republican presidential candidate since the Reagan era. Republican George H.W. Bush won 426 electoral votes in 1988.

In fact, since Nixon’s election in 1972, only two presidents – George W. Bush and Jimmy Carter – have received fewer electoral votes than Trump in a general election.

Presented with that set of facts during his Thursday press conference, Trump demurred, saying only that he “was given” the data citing his historic victory.

“I don’t know, I was given that information. I actually, I’ve seen that information around,” he told NBC News. “But it was a very substantial victory, do you agree with that?”

The president declined to answer NBC's question about why Americans should trust him after he repeated the untrue figure.

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