2016 United States presidential election

Last updated

2016 United States presidential election
Flag of the United States (Pantone).svg
  2012 November 8, 2016 2020  

538 members of the Electoral College
270 electoral votes needed to win
Opinion polls
Turnout55.7% [1] Increase2.svg 0.8 pp
  Donald Trump official portrait (cropped).jpg Hillary Clinton by Gage Skidmore 2.jpg
Nominee Donald Trump Hillary Clinton
Party Republican Democratic
Home state New York New York
Running mate Mike Pence Tim Kaine
Electoral vote304 [lower-alpha 1] 227 [lower-alpha 1]
States carried30 + ME-02 20 + DC
Popular vote62,984,82865,853,514

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2016 United States presidential election
The results map, showing states won by Trump (red) and by Clinton (blue). Numbers denote the electoral votes allocated to each state plus the District of Columbia. Trump received 304 and Clinton 227, as 7 faithless electors, 2 pledged to Trump and 5 to Clinton, voted for other candidates.

President before election

Barack Obama

Elected President

Donald Trump

The 2016 United States presidential election was the 58th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. The Republican ticket of businessman Donald Trump and Indiana Governor Mike Pence defeated the Democratic ticket of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Senator from Virginia Tim Kaine, despite losing the popular vote. [2] Trump took office as the 45th president, and Pence as the 48th vice president, on January 20, 2017.


Trump emerged as his party's front-runner amidst a wide field of Republican primary candidates, while Clinton defeated insurgent Senator Bernie Sanders and became the first female presidential nominee of a major American party. Trump's populist, nationalist campaign, which promised to "Make America Great Again" and opposed political correctness, illegal immigration, and many free-trade agreements, [3] garnered extensive free media coverage. [4] [5] Clinton emphasized her extensive political experience, denounced Trump and many of his supporters as bigots, and advocated the expansion of President Obama's policies; racial, LGBT, and women's rights; and "inclusive capitalism". [6] The tone of the general election campaign was widely characterized as divisive and negative. [7] [8] [9] Trump faced controversy over his views on race and immigration, incidents of violence against protestors at his rallies, [10] [11] [12] and numerous sexual misconduct allegations including a controversial tape, while Clinton's campaign was undermined by declining approval ratings [13] due to concerns about her ethics and trustworthiness, [14] and an FBI investigation of her improper use of a private email server, which received more media coverage than any other topic during the campaign. [15] [16]

Clinton led in nearly every pre-election nationwide poll and in most swing state polls, leading some commentators to compare Trump's victory to that of Harry S. Truman in 1948 as one of the greatest political upsets in modern U.S. history. [17] [18] While Clinton received 2.87 million more votes than Trump did (the largest margin ever for a losing presidential candidate), [19] Trump received the majority in the Electoral College and won upset victories in the pivotal Rust Belt region. Trump won six states that Democrat Barack Obama had won in 2012: Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. [20] Ultimately, Trump received 304 electoral votes and Clinton 227, as two faithless electors defected from Trump and five defected from Clinton. Trump is the fifth person in U.S. history to become president while losing the nationwide popular vote. [lower-alpha 2] He is the first president with neither prior public service nor military experience, and the oldest person to be inaugurated for a first presidential term.

The United States government's intelligence agencies concluded on January 6, 2017 that the Russian government had interfered in the 2016 elections [22] [23] [24] in order to "undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency". [25] A Special Counsel investigation of alleged collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign began in May 2017 [26] [27] and ended in March 2019. The investigation concluded that Russian interference to favor Trump's candidacy occurred "in sweeping and systematic fashion", but "did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government". It did, however, find that members of the campaign had communicated with people connected to Russian intelligence. [28]


The incumbent in 2016, Barack Obama. His second term expired at noon on January 20, 2017. Official portrait of Barack Obama.jpg
The incumbent in 2016, Barack Obama. His second term expired at noon on January 20, 2017.

Article Two of the United States Constitution provides that the President and Vice President of the United States must be natural-born citizens of the United States, at least 35 years old, and residents of the United States for a period of at least 14 years. Candidates for the presidency typically seek the nomination of one of the political parties, in which case each party devises a method (such as a primary election) to choose the candidate the party deems best suited to run for the position. Traditionally, the primary elections are indirect elections where voters cast ballots for a slate of party delegates pledged to a particular candidate. The party's delegates then officially nominate a candidate to run on the party's behalf. The general election in November is also an indirect election, where voters cast ballots for a slate of members of the Electoral College; these electors in turn directly elect the president and vice president.

President Barack Obama, a Democrat and former U.S. Senator from Illinois, was ineligible to seek reelection to a third term due to the restrictions of the Twenty-second Amendment; in accordance with Section 1 of the Twentieth Amendment, his term expired at noon eastern standard time on January 20, 2017.

Also ineligible to run for additional terms as president were past two-term presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. While neither ran, former presidents George H. W. Bush and Jimmy Carter, having each served only one term, were eligible to run for an additional term as president.

Primary process

The series of presidential primary elections and caucuses took place between February and June 2016, staggered among the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories. This nominating process was also an indirect election, where voters cast ballots for a slate of delegates to a political party's nominating convention, who in turn elected their party's presidential nominee.

Speculation about the 2016 campaign began almost immediately following the 2012 campaign, with New York magazine declaring that the race had begun in an article published on November 8, two days after the 2012 election. [29] On the same day, Politico released an article predicting that the 2016 general election would be between Clinton and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, while a New York Times article named New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Senator Cory Booker from New Jersey as potential candidates. [30] [31]


Republican Party


With seventeen major candidates entering the race, starting with Ted Cruz on March 23, 2015, this was the largest presidential primary field for any political party in American history. [32]

Prior to the Iowa caucuses on February 1, 2016, Perry, Walker, Jindal, Graham, and Pataki withdrew due to low polling numbers. Despite leading many polls in Iowa, Trump came in second to Cruz, after which Huckabee, Paul, and Santorum withdrew due to poor performances at the ballot box. Following a sizable victory for Trump in the New Hampshire primary, Christie, Fiorina, and Gilmore abandoned the race. Bush followed suit after scoring fourth place to Trump, Rubio, and Cruz in South Carolina. On March 1, 2016, the first of four "Super Tuesday" primaries, Rubio won his first contest in Minnesota, Cruz won Alaska, Oklahoma, and his home of Texas, and Trump won the other seven states that voted. Failing to gain traction, Carson suspended his campaign a few days later. [33] On March 15, 2016, the second "Super Tuesday", Kasich won his only contest in his home state of Ohio, and Trump won five primaries including Florida. Rubio suspended his campaign after losing his home state. [34]

Between March 16 and May 3, 2016, only three candidates remained in the race: Trump, Cruz, and Kasich. Cruz won the most delegates in four Western contests and in Wisconsin, keeping a credible path to denying Trump the nomination on the first ballot with 1,237 delegates. Trump then augmented his lead by scoring landslide victories in New York and five Northeastern states in April, followed by a decisive victory in Indiana on May 3, 2016, securing all 57 of the state's delegates. Without any further chances of forcing a contested convention, both Cruz [35] and Kasich [36] suspended their campaigns. Trump remained the only active candidate and was declared the presumptive Republican nominee by Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus on the evening of May 3, 2016. [37]

A 2018 study found that media coverage of Trump led to increased public support for him during the primaries. The study showed that Trump received nearly $2 billion in free media, more than double any other candidate. Political scientist John Sides argued that Trump's polling surge was "almost certainly" due to frequent media coverage of his campaign. Sides concluded "Trump is surging in the polls because the news media has consistently focused on him since he announced his candidacy on June 16". [38] Prior to clinching the Republican nomination, Trump received little support from establishment Republicans. [39]


Republican Party (United States) Republican Disc.png
Republican Party (United States)
2016 Republican Party ticket
Donald Trump Mike Pence
for Presidentfor Vice President
Official Portrait of President Donald Trump.jpg
Vice President Pence Official Portrait.jpg
Chairman of
The Trump Organization
Governor of Indiana
Trump-Pence 2016.svg
[40] [41] [42]


Major candidates were determined by the various media based on common consensus. The following were invited to sanctioned televised debates based on their poll ratings.

Trump received 14,010,177 total votes in the primary. Trump, Cruz, Rubio and Kasich each won at least one primary, with Trump receiving the highest number of votes and Ted Cruz receiving the second highest.

Candidates in this section are sorted by reverse date of withdrawal from the primaries
John Kasich Ted Cruz Marco Rubio Ben Carson Jeb Bush Jim Gilmore Carly Fiorina Chris Christie
Governor John Kasich.jpg
Ted Cruz, official portrait, 113th Congress (cropped 2).jpg
Marco Rubio, Official Portrait, 112th Congress.jpg
Ben Carson by Skidmore with lighting correction.jpg
Jeb Bush Feb 2015.jpg
Jim Gilmore 2015.jpg
Carly Fiorina NFRW 2015.jpg
Chris Christie April 2015 (cropped).jpg
Governor of Ohio
U.S. Senator
from Texas
U.S. Senator
from Florida
Dir. of Pediatric Neurosurgery,
Johns Hopkins Hospital
Governor of Florida
Governor of Virginia
CEO of
Governor of New Jersey
Kasich 2016.png
Cruz 2k16 text.png
Carson for President 2016.png
JEB! 2016 Campaign Logo.png
Gilmore 2016.png
Carly 2016.svg
Christie 2k16.png
W: May 4
4,287,479 votes
W: May 3
7,811,110 votes
W: Mar 15
3,514,124 votes
W: Mar 4
857,009 votes
W: Feb 20
286,634 votes
W: Feb 12
18,364 votes
W: Feb 10
40,577 votes
W: Feb 10
57,634 votes
[43] [44] [45] [46] [47] [48] [49] [50] [51] [52] [53] [54] [55] [56] [57] [58] [59] [60]
Rand Paul Rick Santorum Mike Huckabee George Pataki Lindsey Graham Bobby Jindal Scott Walker Rick Perry
Rand Paul, official portrait, 112th Congress alternate (cropped).jpg
Rick Santorum by Gage Skidmore 8 (cropped2).jpg
Mike Huckabee by Gage Skidmore 6 (cropped).jpg
George Pataki at Franklin Pierce University (cropped).jpg
Lindsey Graham, Official Portrait 2006 (cropped).jpg
Bobby Jindal 26 February 2015.jpg
Scott Walker March 2015.jpg
Rick Perry February 2015.jpg
U.S. Senator
from Kentucky
U.S. Senator
from Pennsylvania
Governor of Arkansas
Governor of New York
U.S. Senator
from South Carolina
Governor of Louisiana
Governor of Wisconsin
Governor of Texas
Rand Paul Presidential Campaign logo.svg
Santorum 2k16 text.png
Huckabee Plain.png
Pataki for President Campaign Logo.png
Graham 2k16.png
Jindal 2016 (Vertical).png
Walker 2k16.png
W: Feb 3
66,781 votes
W: Feb 3
16,622 votes
W: Feb 1
51,436 votes
W: December 29, 2015
2,036 votes
W: December 21, 2015
5,666 votes
W: November 17, 2015
222 votes
W: September 21, 2015
1 write-in vote in New Hampshire
W: September 11, 2015
1 write-in vote in New Hampshire
[61] [62] [63] [64] [65] [66] [67] [68] [69] [70] [71] [72] [73] [74] [75] [75] [76] [77]

Vice presidential selection

Trump turned his attention towards selecting a running mate after he became the presumptive nominee on May 4, 2016. [78] In mid-June, Eli Stokols and Burgess Everett of Politico reported that the Trump campaign was considering New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich from Georgia, Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, and Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin. [79] A June 30 report from The Washington Post also included Senators Bob Corker from Tennessee, Richard Burr from North Carolina, Tom Cotton from Arkansas, Joni Ernst from Iowa, and Indiana Governor Mike Pence as individuals still being considered for the ticket. [80] Trump also said he was considering two military generals for the position, including retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn. [81]

In July 2016, it was reported that Trump had narrowed his list of possible running mates down to three: Christie, Gingrich, and Pence. [82]

On July 14, 2016, several major media outlets reported that Trump had selected Pence as his running mate. Trump confirmed these reports in a message Twitter on July 15, 2016, and formally made the announcement the following day in New York. [83] [84] On July 19, the second night of the 2016 Republican National Convention, Pence won the Republican vice presidential nomination by acclamation. [85]

Democratic Party


Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, who also served in the U.S. Senate and was the First Lady of the United States, became the first Democrat in the field to formally launch a major candidacy for the presidency with an announcement on April 12, 2015, via a video message. [86] While nationwide opinion polls in 2015 indicated that Clinton was the front-runner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, she faced strong challenges from Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, [87] who became the second major candidate when he formally announced on April 30, 2015, that he was running for the Democratic nomination. [88] September 2015 polling numbers indicated a narrowing gap between Clinton and Sanders. [87] [89] [90] On May 30, 2015, former Governor of Maryland Martin O'Malley was the third major candidate to enter the Democratic primary race, [91] followed by former independent governor and Republican senator of Rhode Island Lincoln Chafee on June 3, 2015, [92] [93] former Virginia Senator Jim Webb on July 2, 2015, [94] and former Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig on September 6, 2015. [95]

On October 20, 2015, Webb announced his withdrawal from the primaries, and explored a potential Independent run. [96] The next day Vice-President Joe Biden decided not to run, ending months of speculation, stating, "While I will not be a candidate, I will not be silent." [97] [98] On October 23, Chafee withdrew, stating that he hoped for "an end to the endless wars and the beginning of a new era for the United States and humanity". [99] On November 2, after failing to qualify for the second DNC-sanctioned debate after adoption of a rule change negated polls which before might have necessitated his inclusion in the debate, Lessig withdrew as well, narrowing the field to Clinton, O'Malley, and Sanders. [100]

On February 1, 2016, in an extremely close contest, Clinton won the Iowa caucuses by a margin of 0.2 points over Sanders. After winning no delegates in Iowa, O'Malley withdrew from the presidential race that day. On February 9, Sanders bounced back to win the New Hampshire primary with 60% of the vote. In the remaining two February contests, Clinton won the Nevada caucuses with 53% of the vote and scored a decisive victory in the South Carolina primary with 73% of the vote. [101] [102] On March 1, 11 states participated in the first of four "Super Tuesday" primaries. Clinton won Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia and 504 pledged delegates, while Sanders won Colorado, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and his home state of Vermont and 340 delegates. The following weekend, Sanders won victories in Kansas, Nebraska, and Maine with 15- to 30-point margins, while Clinton won the Louisiana primary with 71% of the vote. On March 8, despite never having a lead in the Michigan primary, Sanders won by a small margin of 1.5 points and outperforming polls by over 19 points, while Clinton won 83% of the vote in Mississippi. [103] On March 15, the second "Super Tuesday", Clinton won in Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, and Ohio. Between March 22 and April 9, Sanders won six caucuses in Idaho, Utah, Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, and Wyoming, as well as the Wisconsin primary, while Clinton won the Arizona primary. On April 19, Clinton won the New York primary with 58% of the vote. On April 26, in the third "Super Tuesday" dubbed the "Acela primary", she won contests in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, while Sanders won in Rhode Island. Over the course of May, Sanders accomplished another surprise win in the Indiana primary [104] and also won in West Virginia and Oregon, while Clinton won the Guam caucus and Kentucky primary (and also non-binding primaries in Nebraska and Washington).

On June 4 and 5, Clinton won two victories in the Virgin Islands caucus and Puerto Rico primary. On June 6, 2016, the Associated Press and NBC News reported that Clinton had become the presumptive nominee after reaching the required number of delegates, including pledged delegates and superdelegates, to secure the nomination, becoming the first woman to ever clinch the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. [105] On June 7, Clinton secured a majority of pledged delegates after winning primaries in California, New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Dakota, while Sanders won only Montana and North Dakota. Clinton also won the final primary in the District of Columbia on June 14. At the conclusion of the primary process, Clinton had won 2,204 pledged delegates (54% of the total) awarded by the primary elections and caucuses, while Sanders had won 1,847 (46%). Out of the 714 unpledged delegates or "superdelegates" who were set to vote in the convention in July, Clinton received endorsements from 560 (78%), while Sanders received 47 (7%). [106]

Although Sanders had not formally dropped out of the race, he announced on June 16, 2016, that his main goal in the coming months would be to work with Clinton to defeat Trump in the general election. [107] On July 8, appointees from the Clinton campaign, the Sanders campaign, and the Democratic National Committee negotiated a draft of the party's platform. [108] On July 12, Sanders formally endorsed Clinton at a rally in New Hampshire in which he appeared with her. [109]


Democratic Party (United States) U.S. Democratic Party logo (transparent).svg
Democratic Party (United States)
2016 Democratic Party ticket
Hillary Clinton Tim Kaine
for Presidentfor Vice President
Hillary Clinton by Gage Skidmore 2.jpg
Tim Kaine, official 113th Congress photo portrait.jpg
U.S. Secretary of State
U.S. Senator
from Virginia
Clinton Kaine.svg
[110] [111] [112]


The following candidates were frequently interviewed by major broadcast networks and cable news channels or were listed in publicly published national polls. Lessig was invited to one forum, but withdrew when rules were changed which prevented him from participating in officially sanctioned debates.

Clinton received 16,849,779 votes in the primary.

Candidates in this section are sorted by date of withdrawal from the primaries
Bernie Sanders Martin O'Malley Lawrence Lessig Lincoln Chafee Jim Webb
Bernie Sanders September 2015 cropped.jpg
Governor O'Malley Portrait.jpg
Lessig (cropped).png
Lincoln Chafee (14103606100 cc56e38ddd h).jpg
Jim Webb official 110th Congress photo (cropped).jpg
U.S. Senator from Vermont
Governor of Maryland
Harvard Law professor
Governor of Rhode Island
U.S. Senator
from Virginia
Bernie Sanders 2016 logo.svg
O'Malley for President 2016 Logo.png
Lessig 2016.png
Chafee for President.png
Webb 2016.png
LN: July 26, 2016
13,167,848 votes
W: February 1, 2016
110,423 votes
W: November 2, 2015
4 write-in votes in New Hampshire
W: October 23, 2015
0 votes
W: October 20, 2015
2 write-in votes in New Hampshire
[113] [114] [115] [100] [116] [117]

Vice presidential selection

In April 2016, the Clinton campaign began to compile a list of 15 to 20 individuals to vet for the position of running mate, even though Sanders continued to challenge Clinton in the Democratic primaries. [118] In mid-June, The Wall Street Journal reported that Clinton's shortlist included Representative Xavier Becerra from California, Senator Cory Booker from New Jersey, Senator Sherrod Brown from Ohio, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro from Texas, Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti from California, Senator Tim Kaine from Virginia, Labor Secretary Tom Perez from Maryland, Representative Tim Ryan from Ohio, and Senator Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts. [119] Subsequent reports stated that Clinton was also considering Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, retired Admiral James Stavridis, and Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado. [120] In discussing her potential vice presidential choice, Clinton said the most important attribute she looked for was the ability and experience to immediately step into the role of president. [120]

On July 22, Clinton announced that she had chosen Senator Tim Kaine from Virginia as her running mate. [121] The delegates at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, which took place July 25–28, formally nominated the Democratic ticket.

Third parties and independents

Campaign signs of third-party candidates Jill Stein and Gary Johnson, October 2016 in St. Johnsbury, Vermont Stein, Johnson signs 2016.jpg
Campaign signs of third-party candidates Jill Stein and Gary Johnson, October 2016 in St. Johnsbury, Vermont

Third party and independent candidates who have obtained more than 100,000 votes nationally or on Ballot in at least 15 states are listed separately.

Libertarian Party

Additional Party Endorsements: Independence Party of New York

Ballot access to all 538 electoral votes


2016 Libertarian Party ticket
Gary Johnson Bill Weld
for Presidentfor Vice President
Gary Johnson campaign portrait.jpg
Bill Weld campaign portrait.jpg
Governor of New Mexico
Governor of Massachusetts
Johnson Weld 2016.svg
[122] [123]

Green Party

Ballot access to 480 electoral votes (522 with write-in): [124] map

  • As write-in: Georgia, Indiana, North Carolina [125] [126]
  • Ballot access lawsuit pending: Oklahoma [127]
  • No ballot access: Nevada, South Dakota [125] [128]


Green Party of the United States New Logo.png
2016 Green Party ticket
Jill Stein Ajamu Baraka
for Presidentfor Vice President
Jill Stein by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Ajamu Baraka at Oct 2016 Berkeley rally for Jill Stein - 4 (cropped) (cropped).jpg
from Lexington, Massachusetts
from Washington, DC
[129] [130]

Constitution Party

Ballot access to 207 electoral votes (451 with write-in): [131] [132] map

  • As write-in: Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia [131] [133] [134] [135] [136]
  • No ballot access: California, District of Columbia, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oklahoma [131]


2016 Constitution Party ticket
Darrell Castle Scott Bradley
for Presidentfor Vice President
from Memphis, Tennessee
from Utah
Castle 2016 logo, flat.png


Additional Party Endorsement: Independence Party of Minnesota, South Carolina Independence Party

Ballot access to 84 electoral votes (451 with write-in): [138] map

  • As write-in: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin [138] [139] [140] [141] [142] [143] [144]
  • No ballot access: District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wyoming

In some states, Evan McMullin's running mate was listed as Nathan Johnson on the ballot rather than Mindy Finn, although Nathan Johnson was intended to only be a placeholder until an actual running mate was chosen. [145]

2016 Independent ticket
Evan McMullin Mindy Finn
for Presidentfor Vice President
Evan McMullin 2016-10-21 headshot.jpg
Mindy Finn at CAP (cropped).jpg
Chief policy director for the
House Republican Conference (2015–2016)
President of
Empowered Women

Other nominations

PartyPresidential nomineeVice presidential nomineeAttainable Electors
Popular VoteStates with ballot access
Party for Socialism and Liberation

Peace and Freedom [147]
Liberty Union Party [148]

Gloria La Riva
Newspaper printer and activist from California
Eugene Puryear
Activist from Washington, DC
California, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Vermont, Washington [149] [150]
(Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, West Virginia) [140] [141] [143] [135] [151] [152] [153] [154] [155]
Socialist Workers Party Alyson Kennedy
Mineworker and Labor Leader from Illinois
Osborne Hart
of Pennsylvania
Colorado, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Jersey, Tennessee, Utah, Washington [149]
(Alabama, Iowa, New Hampshire, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont) [151] [153]
Workers World Party Monica Moorehead
perennial candidate and political activist from Alabama [156]
Lamont Lilly
of North Carolina [157]
New Jersey, Utah, Wisconsin [149]
(Alabama, Indiana, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, New, York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia) [141] [143] [151] [158] [159] [154] [160] [161] [162] [163] [164] [165]
Socialist Party USA

Natural Law Party [166]

Mimi Soltysik
former National Co-Chair of the Socialist Party USA from California [167]
Angela Nicole Walker
of Wisconsin
Colorado, Michigan, Guam [149] [150] [168]
(Alabama, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Wisconsin) [143] [135] [151] [158] [153] [159] [155] [163] [165] [169] [170]
Prohibition Party James Hedges
former Tax Assessor for Thompson Township, Fulton County, Pennsylvania [171] [172]
Bill Bayes
of Mississippi [171]
Arkansas, Colorado, Mississippi [149]
(Alabama, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia) [141] [135] [151] [153] [154] [160] [163]
IndependentMike Smith
Lawyer, Colorado
Daniel White20
Colorado, Tennessee [149]
(Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington. West Virginia) [140] [141] [133] [135] [136] [151] [152] [153] [159] [154] [155] [160] [163] [164] [169] [173] [174]
IndependentRichard Duncan
Real Estate Agent from Ohio
Ricky Johnson
Preacher from Pennsylvania
Ohio [175]
(Alabama, Alaska, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia) [135] [151] [152] [158] [176] [153] [154] [150] [155] [160] [163] [173] [174]
Independent Laurence Kotlikoff
Economics Professor at Boston University, Massachusetts
Edward E. Leamer
Economics Professor at UCLA, California
Colorado, Louisiana [149]
(Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin) [139] [140] [142] [144] [133] [135] [136] [151] [158] [153] [159] [154] [150] [155] [160] [161] [162] [163] [164] [165] [169] [170] [173] [174] [177] [178] [179] [180]
America's Party Tom Hoefling
activist from Iowa [181]
Steve Schulin
of South Carolina
Colorado, Louisiana [149] [182]
(Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin) [140] [141] [142] [143] [133] [134] [135] [136] [151] [152] [158] [176] [153] [159] [154] [155] [160] [162] [163] [164] [165] [169] [170] [173] [174] [178] [180]
Veterans Party of AmericaChris Keniston
reliability engineer from Texas [183]
Deacon Taylor
of Nevada [184]
Colorado, Louisiana [149]
(Alabama, Alaska, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin) [143] [136] [151] [176] [153] [159] [155] [160] [164] [170] [173] [174]
Legal Marijuana Now Party Dan Vacek
of Minnesota
Mark Elworth Jr.
of Nebraska
Iowa, Minnesota [149]
(Alabama, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont) [151] [153]
IndependentLynn Kahn
Doctor of Clinical Psychology from Maryland
Kathleen Monahan
of Florida
Arkansas, Iowa [185] [149]
(Alabama, Delaware, Idaho, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia) [141] [143] [135] [151] [152] [176] [153] [159] [154] [155] [160] [163]
American Solidarity Party Mike Maturen
sales professional and magician from Michigan
Juan Muñoz
of Texas
Colorado [186]
(Alabama, Alaska, California, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin) [139] [141] [143] [144] [134] [135] [136] [151] [176] [153] [159] [155] [160] [162] [164] [165] [170] [173] [174]
IndependentJoseph Allen Maldonado
of Oklahoma
Douglas K. Terranova9
Colorado [186]
(Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin) [140] [133] [135] [151] [152] [158] [176] [153] [159] [154] [155] [163] [164] [170] [173] [174] [178]
IndependentRyan Alan ScottBruce Kendall Barnard9
Colorado [186]
(Alabama, Delaware, Iowa, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont) [143] [151] [152] [153]
American Party (South Carolina) Peter Skewes
Animal Science Professor at Clemson University, South Carolina
Michael Lacy9
South Carolina [187]
(Alabama, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont) [140] [151] [153]
Approval Voting PartyFrank Atwood
of Colorado
Blake Huber
of Colorado
Colorado [186]
(Alabama, Iowa, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont) [151] [153]
Independent American PartyKyle Kenley Kopitke
of Michigan
Narthan R. Sorenson9
Colorado [186]
(Alabama, Iowa, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont) [151] [153]
Nutrition Party Rod Silva
restaurateur from New Jersey [188] [189]
Richard Silva9
Colorado [186]
(Alabama, Iowa, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont) [151] [153]
United States Pacifist Party Bradford Lyttle
peace activist from Illinois
Hannah Walsh9
Colorado [186]
(Alabama, Iowa, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont) [151] [153]
Socialist Equality Party Jerry White
peace activist from Michigan
Niles Niemuth
journalist from Wisconsin
Louisiana [190]
(Alabama, California, Delaware, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia) [139] [135] [151] [152] [153] [154] [155] [174]
IndependentPrincess Khadijah Jacob-Fambro
of California
Milton Fambro
of California
Louisiana [190]
(Alabama, Iowa, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont) [151] [153]
Independent American PartyRocky Giordani
from California
Farley Anderson
activist from Utah
Utah [169]
(Alabama, Iowa, Kansas, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont) [141] [151] [153]
Constitution Party of IdahoScott Copeland
of Texas
J.R. Meyers4
Idaho [191]
(Alabama, Iowa, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont) [151] [153]

General election campaign

A general election ballot, listing the presidential and vice presidential candidates 2016 Presidential Election ballot.jpg
A general election ballot, listing the presidential and vice presidential candidates

Hillary Clinton focused her candidacy on several themes, including raising middle class incomes, expanding women's rights, instituting campaign finance reform, and improving the Affordable Care Act. In March 2016, she laid out a detailed economic plan basing her economic philosophy on inclusive capitalism, which proposed a "clawback" that rescinds tax cuts and other benefits for companies that move jobs overseas; with provision of incentives for companies that share profits with employees, communities and the environment, rather than focusing on short-term profits to increase stock value and rewarding shareholders; as well as increasing collective bargaining rights; and placing an "exit tax" on companies that move their headquarters out of the U.S. in order to pay a lower tax rate overseas. [192] Clinton promoted equal pay for equal work to address current alleged shortfalls in how much women are paid to do the same jobs men do, [193] promoted explicitly focus on family issues and support of universal preschool, [194] expressed support for the right to same-sex marriage, [194] and proposed allowing undocumented immigrants to have a path to citizenship stating that it "[i]s at its heart a family issue". [195]

Donald Trump's campaign drew heavily on his personal image, enhanced by his previous media exposure. [196] The primary slogan of the Trump campaign, extensively used on campaign merchandise, was Make America Great Again. The red baseball cap with the slogan emblazoned on the front became a symbol of the campaign and has been frequently donned by Trump and his supporters. [197] Trump's right-wing populist positions—reported by The New Yorker to be nativist, protectionist, and semi-isolationist—differ in many ways from traditional conservatism. [198] He opposed many free trade deals and military interventionist policies that conservatives generally support, and opposed cuts in Medicare and Social Security benefits. Moreover, he has insisted that Washington is "broken" and can be fixed only by an outsider. [199] [200] [201] Support for Trump was high among working and middle-class white male voters with annual incomes of less than $50,000 and no college degree. [202] This group, particularly those with less than a high-school education, suffered a decline in their income in recent years. [203] According to The Washington Post, support for Trump is higher in areas with a higher mortality rate for middle-aged white people. [204] A sample of interviews with more than 11,000 Republican-leaning respondents from August to December 2015 found that Trump at that time found his strongest support among Republicans in West Virginia, followed by New York, and then followed by six Southern states. [205]

Clinton had an uneasy—and, at times, adversarial—relationship with the press throughout her life in public service. [206] Weeks before her official entry as a presidential candidate, Clinton attended a political press corps event, pledging to start fresh on what she described as a "complicated" relationship with political reporters. [207] Clinton was initially criticized by the press for avoiding taking their questions, [208] [209] after which she provided more interviews.

In contrast, Trump benefited from free media more than any other candidate. From the beginning of his campaign through February 2016, Trump received almost $2 billion in free media attention, twice the amount that Clinton received. [210] According to data from the Tyndall Report, which tracks nightly news content, through February 2016, Trump alone accounted for more than a quarter of all 2016 election coverage on the evening newscasts of NBC, CBS and ABC, more than all the Democratic campaigns combined. [211] [212] [213] Observers noted Trump's ability to garner constant mainstream media coverage "almost at will". [214] However, Trump frequently criticized the media for writing what he alleged to be false stories about him [215] and he has called upon his supporters to be "the silent majority". [216] Trump also said the media "put false meaning into the words I say", and says he does not mind being criticized by the media as long as they are honest about it. [217] [218]

Both Clinton and Trump were seen unfavorably by the general public, and their controversial nature set the tone of the campaign. [219]

Trump campaigns in Phoenix, Arizona, October 29, 2016 Donald Trump with supporters (30354747180).jpg
Trump campaigns in Phoenix, Arizona, October 29, 2016

Clinton's practice during her time as Secretary of State of using a private email address and server, in lieu of State Department servers, gained widespread public attention back in March 2015. [220] Concerns were raised about security and preservation of emails, and the possibility that laws may have been violated. [221] After allegations were raised that some of the emails in question fell into this so-called "born classified" category, an FBI probe was initiated regarding how classified information was handled on the Clinton server. [222] [223] [224] [225] The FBI probe was concluded on July 5, 2016, with a recommendation of no charges, a recommendation that was followed by the Justice Department.

Also, on September 9, 2016, Clinton said: "You know, just to be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump's supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. They're racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic—you name it." [226] Donald Trump criticized her remark as insulting his supporters. [227] [228] The following day Clinton expressed regret for saying "half", while insisting that Trump had deplorably amplified "hateful views and voices". [229] Previously on August 25, 2016, Clinton gave a speech criticizing Trump's campaign for using "racist lies" and allowing the alt-right to gain prominence. [230]

Clinton campaigns in Raleigh, North Carolina, October 22, 2016 Hillary Clinton Raleigh (29892054003).jpg
Clinton campaigns in Raleigh, North Carolina, October 22, 2016

On September 11, 2016, Clinton left a 9/11 memorial event early due to illness. [231] Video footage of Clinton's departure showed Clinton becoming unsteady on her feet and being helped into a van. [232] Later that evening, Clinton reassured reporters that she was "feeling great". [233] After initially stating that Clinton had become overheated at the event, her campaign later added that she had been diagnosed with pneumonia two days earlier. [232] The media criticized the Clinton campaign for a lack of transparency regarding Clinton's illness. [232] Clinton cancelled a planned trip to California due to her illness. The episode drew renewed public attention to questions about Clinton's health. [233]

On the other side, on October 7, 2016, video and accompanying audio were released by The Washington Post in which Trump referred obscenely to women in a 2005 conversation with Billy Bush while they were preparing to film an episode of Access Hollywood . In the recording, Trump described his attempts to initiate a sexual relationship with a married woman and added that women would allow male celebrities to grope their genitalia (Trump used the phrase "grab 'em by the pussy"). The audio was met with a reaction of disbelief and disgust from the media. [234] [235] [236] Following the revelation, Trump's campaign issued an apology, stating that the video was of a private conversation from "many years ago". [237] The incident was condemned by numerous prominent Republicans like Reince Priebus, Mitt Romney, John Kasich, Jeb Bush [238] and the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. [239] By October 8, several dozen Republicans had called for Trump to withdraw from the campaign and let Pence head the ticket. [240] Trump insisted he would never drop out. [241] Trump apologized for the remarks. [242]

The ongoing controversy of the election made third parties attract voters' attention. On March 3, 2016, Libertarian Gary Johnson addressed the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington DC, touting himself as the third-party option for anti-Trump Republicans. [243] [244] In early May, some commentators opined that Johnson was moderate enough to pull votes away from both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump who were very disliked and polarizing. [245] Both conservative and liberal media noted that Johnson could get votes from "Never Trump" Republicans and disaffected Bernie Sanders supporters. [246] Johnson also began to get time on national television, being invited on ABC News, NBC News, CBS News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, Bloomberg, and many other networks. [247] In September and October 2016, Johnson suffered a "string of damaging stumbles when he has fielded questions about foreign affairs". [248] [249] On September 8, Johnson, when he appeared on MSNBC's Morning Joe , was asked by panelist Mike Barnicle, "What would you do, if you were elected, about Aleppo?" (referring to a war-torn city in Syria). Johnson responded, "And what is Aleppo?" [250] His response prompted widespread attention, much of it negative. [250] [251] Later that day, Johnson said that he had "blanked" and that he did "understand the dynamics of the Syrian conflict—I talk about them every day." [251]

On the other hand, Green Party candidate Jill Stein said the Democratic and Republican parties are "two corporate parties" that have converged into one. [252] Concerned by the rise of the far right internationally and the tendency towards neoliberalism within the Democratic Party, she has said, "The answer to neofascism is stopping neoliberalism. Putting another Clinton in the White House will fan the flames of this right-wing extremism." [253] [254]

In response to Johnson's growing poll numbers, the Clinton campaign and Democratic allies increased their criticism of Johnson in September 2016, warning that "a vote for a third party is a vote for Donald Trump" and deploying Senator Bernie Sanders (Clinton's former primary rival, who supported her in the general election) to win over voters who might be considering voting for Johnson or for Stein. [255]

On October 28, eleven days before the election, FBI Director James Comey informed Congress that the FBI was analyzing additional Clinton emails obtained during its investigation of an unrelated case. [256] [257] On November 6, he notified Congress that the new emails did not change the FBI's earlier conclusion. [258] [259]

Ballot access

Presidential ticketParty Ballot access Votes [260] [261] Percentage
StatesElectors% of voters
Trump / PenceRepublican50 + DC 538100%62,984,82846.09%
Clinton / KaineDemocratic50 + DC 538100%65,853,51448.18%
Johnson / WeldLibertarian50 + DC 538100%4,489,3413.28%
Stein / BarakaGreen44 + DC 48089%1,457,2181.07%
McMullin / FinnIndependent118415%731,9910.54%
Castle / BradleyConstitution2420739%203,0900.15%

Party conventions

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Salt Lake City
  Democratic Party
  Republican Party
  Libertarian Party
  Green Party
  Constitution Party
Democratic Party
Republican Party
Libertarian Party
Green Party
Constitution Party

Campaign finance

This is an overview of the money used in the campaign as it is reported to Federal Election Commission (FEC) and released in September 2016. Outside groups are independent expenditure-only committees—also called PACs and SuperPACs. The sources of the numbers are the FEC and Center for Responsive Politics. [270] Some spending totals are not available, due to withdrawals before the FEC deadline. As of September 2016, ten candidates with ballot access have filed financial reports with the FEC.

CandidateCampaign committee (as of December 9)Outside groups (as of December 9)Total spent
Money raisedMoney spentCash on handDebtMoney raisedMoney spentCash on hand
Hillary Clinton [271] [272] $497,808,791$435,367,811$62,440,979$111,238$205,909,959$204,267,754$1,642,205$639,635,565
Donald Trump [273] [274] $247,541,449$231,546,996$15,994,454$2,086,572$74,905,285$70,941,922$3,963,363$302,488,918
Gary Johnson [275] [276] $11,410,313$10,308,873$1,101,440$0$1,386,554$1,310,578$75,976$11,619,451
Rocky De La Fuente [277] $8,075,959$8,074,913$1,046$0$0$0$0$8,074,913
Jill Stein [278] [279] $3,509,477$3,451,174$58,303$87,740$0$0$0$3,451,174
Evan McMullin [280] $1,644,102$1,642,165$1,937$0$0$0$0$1,642,165
Darrell Castle [281] $52,234$51,365$869$2,500$0$0$0$51,365
Gloria La Riva [282] $29,243$24,207$5,034$0$0$0$0$24,207
Monica Moorehead [283] $11,547$9,127$2,419$4,500$0$0$0$9,127
Peter Skewes [284] $7,966$4,238$7,454$8,000$0$0$0$4,238

Voting rights

The 2016 presidential election was the first in 50 years without all the protections of the original Voting Rights Act. [285] Fourteen states had new voting restrictions in place, including swing states such as Virginia and Wisconsin. [286] [287] [288] [289] [290]

Newspaper endorsements

Clinton was endorsed by The New York Times , [291] the Los Angeles Times , [292] the Houston Chronicle , [293] the San Jose Mercury News , [294] the Chicago Sun-Times [295] and the New York Daily News [296] editorial boards. Trump, who has frequently criticized the mainstream media, was not endorsed by the vast majority of newspapers, [297] [298] with the Las Vegas Review-Journal , [299] The Florida Times-Union , [300] and the tabloid National Enquirer his highest profile supporters. [301] Several papers which endorsed Clinton, such as the Houston Chronicle , [293] The Dallas Morning News , [302] The San Diego Union-Tribune , [303] The Columbus Dispatch [304] and The Arizona Republic , [305] endorsed their first Democratic candidate for many decades. USA Today , which had not endorsed any candidate since it was founded in 1982, broke tradition by giving an anti-endorsement against Trump, declaring him "unfit for the presidency". [306] [307] The Atlantic , which has been in circulation since 1857, gave Clinton its third-ever endorsement (after Abraham Lincoln and Lyndon Johnson). [308]

Other traditionally Republican papers, including the New Hampshire Union Leader , which had endorsed the Republican nominee in every election for the last 100 years, [309] The Detroit News , which had not endorsed a non-Republican in its 143 years, [310] and the Chicago Tribune , [311] endorsed Gary Johnson.

Involvement of other countries

Russian involvement

On December 9, 2016, the Central Intelligence Agency issued an assessment to lawmakers in the US Senate, stating that a Russian entity hacked the DNC and John Podesta's emails to assist Donald Trump. The Federal Bureau of Investigation agreed. [312] President Barack Obama ordered a "full review" into such possible intervention. [313] Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper in early January 2017 testified before a Senate committee that Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign went beyond hacking, and included disinformation and the dissemination of fake news, often promoted on social media. [314]

President-elect Trump originally called the report fabricated, [315] and Wikileaks denied any involvement by Russian authorities. [316] Days later, Trump said he could be convinced of the Russian hacking "if there is a unified presentation of evidence from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other agencies". [317]

Several U.S. senators—including Republicans John McCain, Richard Burr, and Lindsey Graham—demanded a congressional investigation. [318] The Senate Intelligence Committee announced the scope of their official inquiry on December 13, 2016, on a bipartisan basis; work began on January 24, 2017.[ citation needed ]

A formal Special Counsel investigation headed by former FBI director Robert Mueller was initiated in May 2017 to uncover the detailed interference operations by Russia, and to determine whether any people associated with the Trump campaign were complicit in the Russian efforts. Mueller concluded his investigation on March 22, 2019, by submitting his report to Attorney General William Barr. [319]

On March 24, 2019, Barr submitted a letter describing Mueller's conclusions, [320] [321] and on April 18, 2019, a redacted version of the Mueller Report was released to the public. It concluded that Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election did occur "in sweeping and systematic fashion" and "violated U.S. criminal law." [322] [323]

The first method detailed in the final report was the usage of the Internet Research Agency, waging "a social media campaign that favored presidential candidate Donald J. Trump and disparaged presidential candidate Hillary Clinton". [324] The Internet Research Agency also sought to "provoke and amplify political and social discord in the United States". [325]

The second method of Russian interference saw the Russian intelligence service, the GRU, hacking into email accounts owned by volunteers and employees of the Clinton presidential campaign, including that of campaign chairman John Podesta, and also hacking into "the computer networks of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and the Democratic National Committee (DNC)". As a result, the GRU obtained hundreds of thousands of hacked documents, and the GRU proceeded by arranging releases of damaging hacked material via the WikiLeaks organization and also GRU's personas "DCLeaks" and "Guccifer 2.0." [326] [327] [328]

To establish whether a crime was committed by members of the Trump campaign with regard to Russian interference, the special counsel's investigators "applied the framework of conspiracy law", and not the concept of "collusion", because collusion "is not a specific offense or theory of liability found in the United States Code, nor is it a term of art in federal criminal law." [329] [330] They also investigated if members of the Trump campaign "coordinated" with Russia, using the definition of "coordination" as having "an agreement—tacit or express—between the Trump campaign and the Russian government on election interference". Investigators further elaborated that merely having "two parties taking actions that were informed by or responsive to the other's actions or interests" was not enough to establish coordination. [331]

The Mueller Report writes that the investigation "identified numerous links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign", found that Russia "perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency" and that the 2016 Trump presidential campaign "expected it would benefit electorally" from Russian hacking efforts. Ultimately, "the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities". [332] [333]

However, investigators had an incomplete picture of what had really occurred during the 2016 campaign, due to some associates of Trump campaign providing either false, incomplete or declined testimony, as well as having deleted, unsaved or encrypted communications. As such, the Mueller Report "cannot rule out the possibility" that information then unavailable to investigators would have presented different findings. [334] [335]

Other countries

The Justice Department accused George Nader of providing $3.5 million in illicit campaign donations to Hillary Clinton before the elections and to Donald Trump after he won the elections. According to The New York Times, this was an attempt by the government of United Arab Emirates to influence the election. [336]

In December 2018, a Ukrainian court ruled that prosecutors in Ukraine had meddled in the 2016 election by releasing damaging information on Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. [337]

Notable expressions, phrases, and statements


Primary election

General election

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Hofstra University
Hempstead, NY
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Longwood University
Farmville, VA
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Washington University
St. Louis, MO
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University of Nevada
Las Vegas
Sites of the 2016 general election debates

The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), a non-profit organization, hosted debates between qualifying presidential and vice-presidential candidates. According to the commission's website, to be eligible to opt to participate in the anticipated debates, "in addition to being Constitutionally eligible, candidates must appear on a sufficient number of state ballots to have a mathematical chance of winning a majority vote in the Electoral College, and have a level of support of at least 15 percent of the national electorate as determined by five selected national public opinion polling organizations, using the average of those organizations' most recently publicly-reported results at the time of the determination." [365]

The three locations (Hofstra University, Washington University in St. Louis, University of Nevada, Las Vegas) chosen to host the presidential debates, and the one location (Longwood University) selected to host the vice presidential debate, were announced on September 23, 2015. The site of the first debate was originally designated as Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio; however, due to rising costs and security concerns, the debate was moved to Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. [366]

On August 19, Kellyanne Conway, Trump's campaign manager confirmed that Trump would participate in a series of three debates. [367] [368] [369] [370] Trump had complained two of the scheduled debates, one on September 26 and the other October 9, would have to compete for viewers with National Football League games, referencing the similar complaints made regarding the dates with low expected ratings during the Democratic Party presidential debates. [371]

There were also debates between independent candidates.

Debates among candidates for the 2016 U.S. presidential election


P1September 26, 20169:00 p.m. EDT Hofstra University Hempstead, New York Lester Holt Mr. Donald Trump
Secretary Hillary Clinton
84.0 [372]
VPOctober 4, 20169:00 p.m. EDT Longwood University Farmville, Virginia Elaine Quijano Governor Mike Pence
Senator Tim Kaine
37.0 [372]
P2October 9, 20168 p.m. CDT Washington University in St. Louis St. Louis, Missouri Anderson Cooper
Martha Raddatz
Mr. Donald Trump
Secretary Hillary Clinton
66.5 [372]
P3October 19, 20166 p.m. PDT University of Nevada, Las Vegas Las Vegas, Nevada Chris Wallace Mr. Donald Trump
Secretary Hillary Clinton
71.6 [372]

General election polling


President Barack Obama casting his vote early in Chicago on November 7, 2016 Barack Obama casts an early vote in the 2016 election (cropped).jpg
President Barack Obama casting his vote early in Chicago on November 7, 2016

Election night

The news media and election experts were surprised twice: first, at Trump's winning the GOP nomination; second, at his winning the electoral college. English political scientist Lloyd Gruber said, "One of the major casualties of the 2016 election season has been the reputation of political science, a discipline whose practitioners had largely dismissed Donald Trump's chances of gaining the Republican nomination." [373] The final polls showed a lead by Clinton—and in the end, she did receive more votes. [374] Trump himself expected, based on polling, to lose the election, and rented a small hotel ballroom to make a brief concession speech; "I said if we're going to lose I don't want a big ballroom", he later remarked. [375] The Republican candidate performed surprisingly well in all battleground states, especially Florida, Iowa, Ohio and North Carolina. Even Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, states that had been predicted to vote Democratic, were won by Trump. [376] Cindy Adams, present at Trump Tower, reported that "Trumptown knew they'd won by 5:30. Math, calculations, candidate dislike causing voter abstention begat the numbers." [377] Trump said that he was surprised by how "that map was getting red as hell. That map was bleeding red ... I always used to believe in [polls]. I don't believe them anymore." [375]

According to the authors of Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign , by late Tuesday night the White House had concluded that Trump would win the election. Obama's political director David Simas called Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook to persuade Clinton to concede the election, with no success. Obama then called Clinton directly, citing the importance of continuity of government, to ask her to publicly acknowledge that Trump had won. [378] Believing that Clinton was still unwilling to concede, the president then called her campaign chair John Podesta, but the call to Clinton had likely already persuaded her. [379]

The next day

On Wednesday morning at 2:30 a.m. Eastern Time (ET), it was reported that Trump had secured Wisconsin's 10 electoral votes, giving him a majority of the 538 electors in the Electoral College, enough to make him the president-elect of the United States. [380]

Clinton called Trump early that morning to concede defeat, [381] and at 2:50 a.m. Trump gave his victory speech. [380] Clinton was unable to make a public concession that night, as she had no concession speech written. [382] Later that day, Clinton asked her supporters to accept the result and hoped that Trump would be "a successful president for all Americans". [383] In his speech, Trump appealed for unity, saying "it is time for us to come together as one united people", and praised Clinton as someone who was owed "a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country". [384]

Statistical analysis

Six states plus a portion of Maine that Obama won in 2012 switched to Trump (Electoral College votes in parentheses): Florida (29), Pennsylvania (20), Ohio (18), Michigan (16), Wisconsin (10), Iowa (6), and Maine's second congressional district (1). Initially, Trump won exactly 100 more Electoral College votes than Mitt Romney had in 2012, with two lost to faithless electors in the final tally. Thirty-nine states swung more Republican compared to the previous presidential election, while eleven states and the District of Columbia swung more Democratic. [261]

Based on United States Census Bureau estimates of the voting age population (VAP), turnout of voters casting a vote for president was nearly 1% higher than in 2012.[ failed verification ] [1] Examining overall turnout in the 2016 election, University of Florida Prof. Michael McDonald estimated that 138.8 million Americans cast a ballot. [385] 65.9 million of those ballots were counted for Clinton and just under 63 million for Trump, representing 20.3% (Clinton) and 19.4% (Trump) of a census estimate of U.S. population that day of 324 million. [261] [386] Considering a VAP of 250.6 million people and voting eligible population (VEP) of 230.6 million people, this is a turnout rate of 55.4% VAP and 60.2% VEP. [1] [385] Based on this estimate, voter turnout was up compared to 2012 (54.1% VAP) but down compared to 2008 (57.4% VAP). A FEC report of the election recorded an official total of 136.7 million votes cast for President—more than any prior election. [1]

Data scientist Hamdan Azhar noted the paradoxes of the 2016 outcome, saying that "chief among them [was] the discrepancy between the popular vote, which Hillary Clinton won by 2.8 million votes, and the electoral college, where Trump won 304-227". [387] He said Trump outperformed Mitt Romney's 2012 results, while Clinton only just matched Barack Obama's 2012 totals. [387] Hamdan also said Trump was "the highest vote earner of any Republican candidate ever," exceeding George W. Bush's 62.04 million votes in 2004, though neither reached Clinton's 65.9 million, nor Obama's 69.5 million votes in 2008, the overall record. [387] He concluded, with help from The Cook Political Report, that the election hinged not on Clinton's large 2.8 million overall vote margin over Trump, but rather on about 78,000 votes from only three counties in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. [387] CPR also noted that by the same logic, Obama won in 2012 due to three counties in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. [388]

Impact of automation

A 2017 study done by Economists and Economic Historians Carl Benedikt Frey, Chinchih Chen and Thor Berger examines the link between the adoption of automation and the results of the 2016 election. The study points out that since the 1980s, the advancement of technology has often led to a significant fraction of the workforce being worse off. Low skilled workers affected by technology driven job displacement had to replace their middle-income jobs with lower-income service jobs, or were pushed out of the workforce altogether, while the advancement of technology increased the demand for high-income jobs among skilled workers. Frey and his co-authors note a positive trend between automation driven income inequality and the movement toward political polarization in the United States. The study found a strong correlation between areas affected by technological automation and the increase of support for Donald Trump among low-skilled workers in the affected voting districts, concluding that:

While the Computer Revolution has not rendered the workforce redundant, a large share of Americans have lost the race to technology, which is reflected in the reallocation of millions of workers from middle-income jobs to low-income occupations or non-employment as their jobs have been automated away ... the victims of the Computer Revolution have a higher propensity to opt for radical political change: electoral districts with a higher share of jobs exposed to automation were significantly more likely to support Trump. The 2016 U.S. Presidential Election can thus be described as a riot against machines by democratic means. [389]

Candidates table

Electoral results
Presidential candidatePartyHome statePopular voteElectoral
Running mate
CountPercentageVice-presidential candidateHome stateElectoral vote
Donald Trump Republican New York 62,984,82846.09%304 (306) Mike Pence Indiana 304
Hillary Clinton Democratic New York 65,853,51448.18%227 (232) Tim Kaine Virginia 227
Gary Johnson Libertarian New Mexico 4,489,3413.28%0 Bill Weld Massachusetts 0
Jill Stein Green Massachusetts 1,457,2181.07%0 Ajamu Baraka Illinois 0
Evan McMullin Independent Utah 731,9910.54%0 Mindy Finn District of Columbia 0
Darrell Castle Constitution Tennessee 203,0900.15%0 Scott Bradley Utah 0
Bernie Sanders [lower-alpha 3] Independent Vermont 111,850 [lower-alpha 4] 0.08% [lower-alpha 4] 1 (0) Elizabeth Warren [lower-alpha 3] Massachusetts 1
Gloria La Riva Socialism and Liberation California 74,4010.05%0 Eugene Puryear District of Columbia 0
John Kasich [lower-alpha 3] [lower-alpha 5] Republican Ohio 2,684 [lower-alpha 4] 0.00% [lower-alpha 4] 1 (0) Carly Fiorina [lower-alpha 3] [lower-alpha 5] Virginia 1
Ron Paul [lower-alpha 3] [lower-alpha 5] Libertarian Texas 124 [lower-alpha 4] 0.00% [lower-alpha 4] 1 (0) Mike Pence Indiana 1
Colin Powell [lower-alpha 3] Republican Virginia 25 [lower-alpha 4] 0.00% [lower-alpha 4] 3 (0) Elizabeth Warren [lower-alpha 3] Massachusetts 1
Maria Cantwell [lower-alpha 3] Washington 1
Susan Collins [lower-alpha 3] Maine 1
Faith Spotted Eagle [lower-alpha 3] Democratic South Dakota 00.00%1 (0) Winona LaDuke [lower-alpha 3] Minnesota 1
Needed to win270270


  1. 1 2 In state-by-state tallies, Trump earned 306 pledged electors, Clinton 232. They lost respectively two and five votes to faithless electors. Vice Presidential candidates Pence and Kaine lost one and five votes, respectively.
  2. In early elections, beginning with the election of George Washington, many electors were chosen by state legislatures instead of public balloting and, in those states which practiced public balloting, votes were cast for undifferentiated lists of candidates, leaving no or only partial vote totals. Some states continued to allocate electors by legislative vote as late as 1876. [21]
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Received electoral vote(s) from a faithless elector.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Candidate received votes as a write-in. The exact numbers of write-in votes have been published for three states: California, Vermont, and New Hampshire. [390] It was possible to vote Sanders as a write-in candidate in 14 states. [391]
  5. 1 2 3 Two faithless electors from Texas cast their presidential votes for Ron Paul and John Kasich, respectively. Chris Suprun said he cast his presidential vote for John Kasich and his vice presidential vote for Carly Fiorina. The other faithless elector in Texas, Bill Greene, cast his presidential vote for Ron Paul but cast his vice presidential vote for Mike Pence, as pledged. John Kasich received recorded write-in votes in Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Vermont.
Popular vote [260] [261]
Electoral vote—Pledged
Electoral vote—President
Spotted Eagle
Electoral vote—Vice President

Results by state

The table below displays the official vote tallies by each state's Electoral College voting method. The source for the results of all states is the official Federal Election Commission report. The column labeled "Margin" shows Trump's margin of victory over Clinton (the margin is negative for every state that Clinton won).

A total of 29 third party and independent presidential candidates appeared on the ballot in at least one state. Former Governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson and physician Jill Stein repeated their 2012 roles as the nominees for the Libertarian Party and the Green Party, respectively. [392] With ballot access to the entire national electorate, Johnson received nearly 4.5 million votes (3.27%), the highest nationwide vote share for a third-party candidate since Ross Perot in 1996, [393] while Stein received almost 1.45 million votes (1.06%), the most for a Green nominee since Ralph Nader in 2000.

Independent candidate Evan McMullin, who appeared on the ballot in 11 states, received over 732,000 votes (0.53%). He won 21.4% of the vote in his home state of Utah, the highest share of the vote for a third-party candidate in any state since 1992. [394] Despite dropping out of the election following his defeat in the Democratic primary, Senator Bernie Sanders received 5.7% of the vote in his home state of Vermont, the highest write-in draft campaign percentage for a presidential candidate in American history. [395] Johnson and McMullin were the first third-party candidates since Nader to receive at least 5% of the vote in one or more states, with Johnson crossing the mark in 11 states and McMullin crossing it in two.

Aside from Florida and North Carolina, the states which secured Trump's victory are situated in the Great Lakes/Rust Belt region. Wisconsin went Republican for the first time since 1984, while Pennsylvania and Michigan went Republican for the first time since 1988. [396] [397] [398] Trump also won Maine's 2nd congressional district, which had also not been won by a Republican presidential candidate since 1988. Stein petitioned for a recount in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. The Clinton campaign pledged to participate in the Green Party recount efforts, while Trump backers challenged them in court. [399] [400] [401] Meanwhile, American Delta Party/Reform Party presidential candidate Rocky De La Fuente petitioned for and was granted a partial recount in Nevada. [402]

States won by Clinton/Kaine
States won by Trump/Pence

Electoral methods

Hillary Clinton
Donald Trump
Gary Johnson
Jill Stein
Evan McMullin
State or
Alabama WTA729,54734.36%1,318,25562.08%944,4672.09%9,3910.44%21,7121.02%588,70827.73%2,123,372AL [403]
Alaska WTA116,45436.55%163,38751.28%318,7255.88%5,7351.80%14,3074.49%46,93314.73%318,608AK [404]
Arizona WTA1,161,16745.13%1,252,40148.67%11106,3274.13%34,3451.33%17,4490.68%1,4760.06%91,2343.55%2,573,165AZ [405]
Arkansas WTA380,49433.65%684,87260.57%629,8292.64%9,4730.84%13,2551.17%12,7121.12%304,37826.92%1,130,635AR [406]
California WTA8,753,78861.73%554,483,81031.62%478,5003.37%278,6571.96%39,5960.28%147,2441.04%−4,269,978−30.11%14,181,595CA [407]
Colorado WTA1,338,87048.16%91,202,48443.25%144,1215.18%38,4371.38%28,9171.04%27,4180.99%−136,386−4.91%2,780,247CO [408]
Connecticut WTA897,57254.57%7673,21540.93%48,6762.96%22,8411.39%2,1080.13%5080.03%−224,357−13.64%1,644,920CT [409]
Delaware WTA235,60353.09%3185,12741.72%14,7573.32%6,1031.37%7060.16%1,5180.34%−50,476−11.37%443,814DE [410] [411]
District of Columbia WTA282,83090.48%312,7234.07%4,9061.57%4,2581.36%6,5512.52%−270,107−86.78%311,268DC [412]
Florida WTA4,504,97547.82%4,617,88649.02%29207,0432.20%64,3990.68%25,7360.28%112,9111.20%9,420,039FL [413]
Georgia WTA1,877,96345.64%2,089,10450.77%16125,3063.05%7,6740.19%13,0170.32%1,6680.04%211,1415.13%4,114,732GA [414] [415]
Hawaii WTA266,89162.22%3128,84730.03%15,9543.72%12,7372.97%4,5081.05%1−138,044−32.18%428,937HI [416]
Idaho WTA189,76527.49%409,05559.26%428,3314.10%8,4961.23%46,4766.73%8,1321.18%219,29031.77%690,255ID [417]
Illinois WTA3,090,72955.83%202,146,01538.76%209,5963.79%76,8021.39%11,6550.21%1,6270.03%−944,714−17.06%5,536,424IL [418]
Indiana WTA1,033,12637.91%1,557,28656.82%11133,9934.89%7,8410.27%2,7120.10%524,16019.17%2,734,958IN [419]
Iowa WTA653,66941.74%800,98351.15%659,1863.78%11,4790.73%12,3660.79%28,3481.81%147,3149.41%1,566,031IA [420]
Kansas WTA427,00536.05%671,01856.65%655,4064.68%23,5061.98%6,5200.55%9470.08%244,01320.60%1,184,402KS [421]
Kentucky WTA628,85432.68%1,202,97162.52%853,7522.79%13,9130.72%22,7801.18%1,8790.10%574,17729.84%1,924,149KY [422]
Louisiana WTA780,15438.45%1,178,63858.09%837,9781.87%14,0310.69%8,5470.42%9,6840.48%398,48419.64%2,029,032LA [423]
Maine (at-lg)WTA [lower-alpha 1] 357,73547.83%2335,59344.87%38,1055.09%14,2511.91%1,8870.25%3560.05%−22,142−2.96%747,927ME–a/l [424] [425]
Maine, 1st CD [lower-alpha 1] 212,77453.96%1154,38439.15%18,5924.71%7,5631.92%8070.20%2090.05%−58,390−14.81%394,329ME-1
Maine, 2nd CD [lower-alpha 1] 144,81740.98%181,17751.26%119,5105.52%6,6851.89%1,0800.31%1470.04%36,36010.29%353,416ME-2 [424] [425]
Maryland WTA1,677,92860.33%10943,16933.91%79,6052.86%35,9451.29%9,6300.35%35,1691.26%−734,759−26.42%2,781,446MD [426]
Massachusetts WTA1,995,19660.01%111,090,89332.81%138,0184.15%47,6611.43%2,7190.08%50,5591.52%−904,303−27.20%3,325,046MA [427]
Michigan WTA2,268,83947.27%2,279,54347.50%16172,1363.59%51,4631.07%8,1770.17%19,1260.40%10,7040.23%4,799,284MI [428]
Minnesota WTA1,367,71646.44%101,322,95144.92%112,9723.84%36,9851.26%53,0761.80%51,1131.74%−44,765−1.52%2,944,813MN [429]
Mississippi WTA485,13140.11%700,71457.94%614,4351.19%3,7310.31%5,3460.44%215,58317.83%1,209,357MS [430]
Missouri WTA1,071,06838.14%1,594,51156.77%1097,3593.47%25,4190.91%7,0710.25%13,1770.47%523,44318.64%2,808,605MO [431]
Montana WTA177,70935.75%279,24056.17%328,0375.64%7,9701.60%2,2970.46%1,8940.38%101,53120.42%497,147MT [432] [433]
Nebraska (at-lg)WTA284,49433.70%495,96158.75%238,9464.61%8,7751.04%16,0511.90%211,46725.05%844,227NE–a/l [434]
Nebraska, 1st CD100,12635.46%158,62656.18%114,0314.97%3,3741.19%6,1812.19%58,50020.72%282,338NE-1
Nebraska, 2nd CD131,03044.92%137,56447.16%113,2454.54%3,3471.15%6,4942.23%6,5342.24%291,680NE-2
Nebraska, 3rd CD53,29019.73%199,65773.92%111,6574.32%2,0540.76%3,4511.28%146,36754.19%270,109NE-3
Nevada WTA539,26047.50%6512,05845.98%37,3843.29%36,6833.23%−27,202−2.42%1,125,385NV [435]
New Hampshire WTA348,52646.98%4345,79046.61%30,7774.15%6,4960.88%1,0640.14%11,6431.24%−2,736−0.37%744,296NH [436]
New Jersey WTA2,148,27854.99%141,601,93341.00%72,4771.86%37,7720.97%13,5861.18%−546,345−14.10%3,874,046NJ [437]
New Mexico WTA385,23448.26%5319,66740.04%74,5419.34%9,8791.24%5,8250.73%3,1730.40%−65,567−8.21%798,319NM [438]
New York WTA4,556,12459.01%292,819,53436.52%176,5982.29%107,9341.40%10,3730.13%50,8900.66%−1,736,590−22.49%7,721,453NY [439]
North Carolina WTA2,189,31646.17%2,362,63149.83%15130,1262.74%12,1050.26%47,3861.00%173,3153.66%4,741,564NC [440]
North Dakota WTA93,75827.23%216,79462.96%321,4346.22%3,7801.10%8,5942.49%123,03635.73%344,360ND [441]
Ohio WTA2,394,16443.56%2,841,00551.69%18174,4983.17%46,2710.84%12,5740.23%27,9750.51%446,8418.13%5,496,487OH [442]
Oklahoma WTA420,37528.93%949,13665.32%783,4815.75%N/AN/A528,76137.08%1,452,992OK [443]
Oregon WTA1,002,10650.07%7782,40339.09%94,2314.71%50,0022.50%72,5943.63%−219,703−10.98%2,001,336OR [444]
Pennsylvania WTA2,926,44147.46%2,970,73348.18%20146,7152.38%49,9410.81%6,4720.11%65,1761.06%44,2920.72%6,165,478PA [445]
Rhode Island WTA252,52554.41%4180,54338.90%14,7463.18%6,2201.34%5160.11%9,5942.07%−71,982−15.51%464,144RI [446]
South Carolina WTA855,37340.67%1,155,38954.94%949,2042.34%13,0340.62%21,0161.00%9,0110.43%300,01614.27%2,103,027SC [447]
South Dakota WTA117,45831.74%227,72161.53%320,8505.63%4,0641.10%110,26329.79%370,093SD [448]
Tennessee WTA870,69534.72%1,522,92560.72%1170,3972.81%15,9930.64%11,9910.48%16,0260.64%652,23026.01%2,508,027TN [449]
Texas WTA3,877,86843.24%4,685,04752.23%36283,4923.16%71,5580.80%42,3660.47%8,8950.10%2807,1798.99%8,969,226TX [450]
Utah WTA310,67627.46%515,23145.54%639,6083.50%9,4380.83%243,69021.54%12,7871.13%204,55518.08%1,131,430UT [451]
Vermont WTA178,57356.68%395,36930.27%10,0783.20%6,7582.14%6390.20%23,6507.51%−83,204−26.41%315,067VT [452]
Virginia WTA1,981,47349.73%131,769,44344.41%118,2742.97%27,6380.69%54,0541.36%33,7490.85%−212,030−5.32%3,984,631VA [453]
Washington WTA1,742,71852.54%81,221,74736.83%160,8794.85%58,4171.76%133,2584.02%4−520,971−15.71%3,317,019WA [454]
West Virginia WTA188,79426.43%489,37168.50%523,0043.22%8,0751.13%1,1040.15%4,0750.57%300,57742.07%714,423WV [455]
Wisconsin WTA1,382,53646.45%1,405,28447.22%10106,6743.58%31,0721.04%11,8550.40%38,7291.30%22,7480.77%2,976,150WI [456]
Wyoming WTA55,97321.63%174,41967.40%313,2875.13%2,5150.97%9,6553.73%118,44646.30%255,849WY [457]
U.S. total65,853,51448.18%22762,984,82846.09%3044,489,3413.28%1,457,2181.07%731,9910.54%1,154,0840.84%7−2,868,686−2.10%136,669,276US
Hillary Clinton
Donald Trump
Gary Johnson
Jill Stein
Evan McMullin

Results are from The New York Times. [461]

Battleground states

Vote margin swing by state 2012 to 2016. Only eleven states (as well as the District of Columbia) trended more Democratic: Arizona, California, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Texas, Washington, Virginia and Utah. The large swing in Utah is mostly, but not completely, due to the votes for third candidate Evan McMullin and the 2012 candidacy of Utahan Mitt Romney. Presidential Election Results Swing by State from 2012 to 2016.svg
Vote margin swing by state 2012 to 2016. Only eleven states (as well as the District of Columbia) trended more Democratic: Arizona, California, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Texas, Washington, Virginia and Utah. The large swing in Utah is mostly, but not completely, due to the votes for third candidate Evan McMullin and the 2012 candidacy of Utahan Mitt Romney.

Most media outlets announced the beginning of the presidential race about twenty months prior to Election Day. Soon after the first contestants declared their candidacy, Larry Sabato listed Virginia, Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire, Florida, Nevada, and Ohio as the seven states most likely to be contested in the general election. After Donald Trump clinched the Republican presidential nomination, many pundits felt that the major campaign locations might be different from what had originally been expected. [462]

Rust Belt states such as Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and even Michigan were thought to be in play with Trump as the nominee, while states with large minority populations, such as Colorado and Virginia, were expected to shift towards Clinton. [463] By the conventions period and the debates, however, it did not seem as though the Rust Belt states could deliver a victory to Trump, as many of them were considered to be part of the "blue wall" of Democratic-leaning states. Trump's courting of the Polish-American vote, a sizable number of whom were Reagan Democrats, has been cited as the cause for the loss of the Rust Belt by the Democratic nominee. [464] According to Politico [465] and the 538 online blog, his path to victory went through states such as Florida, North Carolina, Nevada, New Hampshire, and possibly Colorado. [466] [467] [468] [469]

Early polling indicated a closer-than-usual race in former Democratic strongholds such as Washington, Delaware, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maine (for the two statewide electoral votes), and New Mexico. [470] [471] [472] Meanwhile, research indicators from inside of a host of Republican-leaning states such as Arizona, Indiana, Georgia, South Carolina, Alaska, Utah, Texas, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, and South Dakota reported weaker support for Trump than expected, although the nominee's position solidified in a few other areas. Some reviews took this information as evidence of an expanded 'swing-state map'. [473]

A consensus among political pundits developed throughout the primary election season regarding swing states. [474] From the results of presidential elections from 2004 through to 2012, the Democratic and Republican parties would generally start with a safe electoral vote count of about 150 to 200. [475] [476] However, the margins required to constitute a swing state are vague, and can vary between groups of analysts. [477] [478] It was thought that left-leaning states in the Rust Belt could become more conservative, as Trump had strong appeal among many blue-collar workers. [479] They represent a large portion of the American populace and were a major factor in Trump's eventual nomination. Trump's primary campaign was propelled by victories in Democratic states, and his supporters often did not identify as Republican. [480] In addition, local factors may come into play. For example, Utah was the reddest state in 2012, although the Republican share was boosted significantly by the candidacy of Mormon candidate Mitt Romney. [477] Despite its partisan orientation, some reports suggested a victory there by independent candidate Evan McMullin, particularly if there was a nationwide blowout. [478]

Media reports indicated that both candidates planned to concentrate on Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio and North Carolina. [481] [482] Among the Republican-leaning states, potential Democratic targets included Nebraska's second congressional district, Georgia, and Arizona. [483] Trump's relatively poor polling in some traditionally Republican states, such as Utah, raised the possibility that they could vote for Clinton, despite easy wins there by recent Republican nominees. [484] However, many analysts asserted that these states were not yet viable Democratic destinations. [485] [486] Several sites and individuals publish electoral predictions. These generally rate the race by the likelihood for each party to win a state. [487] The "tossup" label is usually used to indicate that neither party has an advantage, "lean" to indicate a party has a slight edge, "likely" to indicate a party has a clear but not overwhelming advantage, and "safe" to indicate a party has an advantage that cannot be overcome. [488]

As the parameters of the race established themselves, analysts converged on a narrower list of contested states, which were relatively similar to those of recent elections. On November 7, the Cook Political Report categorized Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin as states with close races. Additionally, a district from each of Maine and Nebraska were considered to be coin flips. [489] Meanwhile, FiveThirtyEight listed twenty-two states as potentially competitive about a month before the election—Maine's two at-large electoral votes, New Mexico, Minnesota, Michigan, Colorado, Virginia, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Nevada, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Iowa, Arizona, Georgia, Alaska, South Carolina, Texas, Indiana, Missouri, and Utah—as well as Maine's second and Nebraska's second congressional districts. [490] Nate Silver, the publication's editor-in-chief, subsequently removed Texas, South Carolina, Missouri, and Indiana from the list after the race tightened significantly. [491] These conclusions were supported by models such as the Princeton Elections Consortium, the New York Times Upshot, and punditry evaluations from Sabato's Crystal Ball and the Cook Political Report. [492] [493] [494] [495]

After the conventions of the national parties, Clinton and Trump carried out a total of 72 visits to Florida, 59 to Pennsylvania, 52 to North Carolina, 43 to Ohio, 25 to Virginia, 24 to Michigan, 23 to Iowa, 22 to New Hampshire, 19 to Colorado, 16 to Nevada, 15 to Wisconsin, and 10 to Arizona.[ citation needed ]

Hillary Clinton won states like New Mexico by less than 10 percentage points. [496] Among the states where the candidates finished at a margin of within seven percent, Clinton won Virginia (13 electoral votes), Colorado (9), Maine (2), Minnesota (10), and New Hampshire (4). On the other hand, Trump won Michigan (16), Pennsylvania (20), Wisconsin (10), Florida (29), North Carolina (15), Arizona (11), Nebraska's second district (1), and Georgia (16). States won by Obama in the 2012, such as Ohio (18), Iowa (6), and Maine's second district (1), were also won by Trump. The close result in Maine was not expected by most commentators, nor were Trump's victory of over 10 points in the second district and their disparities. [497] [498] [499] The dramatic shift of Midwestern states towards Trump were contrasted in the media against the relative movement of Southern states towards the Democrats. [500] For example, former Democratic strongholds such as Minnesota and Maine leaned towards the GOP. Meanwhile, Iowa voted more Republican than Texas did, Georgia was more Democratic than Ohio, and the margin of victory for Trump was greater in North Carolina than Arizona. [501] [502] Trump's smaller victories in Alaska and Utah also took some experts by surprise. [503]

Close states were:

States where the margin of victory was under 1% (50 electoral votes; 46 won by Trump, four by Clinton):

  1. Michigan, 0.23% – 16
  2. New Hampshire, 0.37% – 4
  3. Pennsylvania, 0.72% – 20 (tipping point state, including two faithless GOP electors) [504]
  4. Wisconsin, 0.77% – 10 (tipping point state, excluding the two faithless GOP electors) [504]

States/districts where the margin of victory was between 1% and 5% (83 electoral votes; 56 won by Trump, 27 by Clinton):

  1. Florida, 1.20% – 29
  2. Minnesota, 1.52% – 10
  3. Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District, 2.24% – 1
  4. Nevada, 2.42% – 6
  5. Maine, 2.96% – 2
  6. Arizona, 3.55% – 11
  7. North Carolina, 3.66% – 15
  8. Colorado, 4.91% – 9

States where the margin of victory was between 5% and 10% (94 electoral votes; 76 won by Trump, 18 by Clinton):

  1. Georgia, 5.16% – 16
  2. Virginia, 5.32% – 13
  3. Ohio, 8.13% – 18
  4. New Mexico, 8.21% – 5
  5. Texas, 8.99% – 36
  6. Iowa, 9.41% – 6

Red denotes states (or congressional districts) won by Republican Donald Trump; blue denotes those won by Democrat Hillary Clinton.


Voter demographics

Voter demographic data for 2016 were collected by Edison Research for the National Election Pool, a consortium of ABC News, CBS News, MSNBC, CNN, Fox News and the Associated Press. The voter survey is based on exit polls completed by 24,537 voters leaving 350 voting places throughout the United States on Election Day, in addition to 4,398 telephone interviews with early and absentee voters. [505] Trump's crucial victories in the Midwest were aided in large part by his strong margins among non-college whites—while Obama lost those voters by a margin of 10 points in 2012, Clinton lost this group by 20 percent. The election also represented the first time that Republicans performed better among lower-income whites than among affluent white voters. [506] To some analysts' surprise, Trump narrowed Clinton's margin compared to Obama by seven points among blacks and African-Americans, eight points among Latinos, and 11 points among Asian-Americans. Meanwhile, Trump increased his lead with non-Hispanic white voters through one percent over Mitt Romney's performance, and American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Pacific Islanders shifted their support towards the Republican candidate using the same relative amount. [507] Additionally, although 74 percent of Muslim voters supported Clinton, Trump nearly doubled his support among those voters compared to Mitt Romney, according to the Council on American–Islamic Relations exit poll. [508]

However, "more convincing data" [509] from the polling firm Latino Decisions indicates that Clinton received a higher share of the Hispanic vote, and Trump a lower share, than the Edison exit polls showed. Using wider, more geographically and linguistically representative sampling, Latino Decisions concluded that Clinton won 79% of Hispanic voters (also an improvement over Obama's share in 2008 and 2012), while Trump won only 18% (lower than previous Republicans such as Romney and McCain). [510] Additionally, the 2016 Cooperative Congressional Election Study found that Clinton's share of the Hispanic vote was one percentage point higher than Obama's in 2012, while Trump's was seven percentage points lower than Romney's. [511]

Similarly, a large, multi-lingual study by the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund found that Clinton won 79% of Asian-American voters, higher than the Edison exit poll showed, while Trump won only 18%, a decrease from McCain's and Romney's numbers. [512] Furthermore, according to the AALDEF's report, Trump received merely 2% of the Muslim-American vote, whereas Clinton received 97%. [513]

2016 Presidential vote by demographic subgroup (Edison Exit Polling)
Demographic subgroupClintonTrumpOther% of
total vote
Total vote48466100
Liberals 8410626
Moderates 5241739
Conservatives 1581435
Democrats 899237
Republicans 790333
Independents 42471131
Party by gender
Democratic men8710314
Democratic women908223
Republican men690417
Republican women989216
Independent men37511217
Independent women47431014
Marital status
Gender by marital status
Married men3758529
Married women4947430
Non-married men4645919
Non-married women6233523
White 3758570
Black 888412
Asian 652964
Hispanic (of any race)6529611
Gender by race/ethnicity
White men3163534
White women4353337
Black men801365
Black women94427
Latino men (of any race)623345
Latino women (of any race)682656
All other races613256
Protestant 3760327
Catholic 4552323
Mormon 2561141
Other Christian 4355224
Jewish 712453
Other religion583397
None 6826615
Religious service attendance
Weekly or more4056433
A few times a year4847529
White evangelical or born-again Christian
White evangelical or born-again Christian1681326
Everyone else5935674
18–24 years old5635910
25–29 years old533989
30–39 years old5140917
40–49 years old4650419
50–64 years old4453330
65 and older4553215
Age by race
Whites 18–29 years old43471012
Whites 30–44 years old3754916
Whites 45–64 years old3462430
Whites 65 and older3958313
Blacks 18–29 years old85963
Blacks 30–44 years old89744
Blacks 45–64 years old89745
Blacks 65 and older919n/a1
Latinos 18–29 years old682663
Latinos 30–44 years old652874
Latinos 45–64 years old643244
Latinos 65 and older732521
Sexual orientation
LGBT 781485
Heterosexual 4748595
First time voter
First time voter 5640410
Everyone else4747690
High school or less4551418
Some college education4352532
College graduate4945632
Postgraduate education 5837518
Education by race/ethnicity
White college graduates4549437
White no college degree2867434
Non-white college graduates7123513
Non-white no college degree7520316
Education by race/ethnicity/sex
White women with college degrees5144520
White men with college degrees3953817
White women without college degrees3461517
White men without college degrees2371616
Family income
Under $30,0005341617
Over $250,000464866
Union households
Union 5142718
Military service
Veterans 3460613
Issue regarded as most important
Foreign policy 6034613
Immigration 3264413
Economy 5242652
Terrorism 3957418
Northeast 5540519
Midwest 4549623
South 4452437
West 5539621
Community size
Cities (population 50,000 and above)5935634
Rural areas3462417


Various methods were used to forecast the outcome of the 2016 election. [514] For the 2016 election, there were many competing election forecast approaches including Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight, The Upshot at The New York Times , Daily Kos, Princeton Election Consortium, Cook Political Report, Rothenberg and Gonzales, PollyVote, Sabato's Crystal Ball and Electoral-Vote. These models mostly showed a Democratic advantage since the nominees were confirmed, and were supported by pundits and statisticians, including Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight, Nate Cohn at The New York Times, and Larry Sabato from the Crystal Ball newsletter, who predicted a Democratic victory in competitive presidential races and projected consistent leads in several battleground states around the country. [515] The near-unanimity of forecasters in predicting a Clinton victory may have been the result of groupthink. However, FiveThirtyEight's model pointed to the possibility of an Electoral College-popular vote split widening in the final weeks based on Trump's improvement in swing states like Florida or Pennsylvania. This was due to the demographics targeted by Trump's campaign which lived in big numbers there, in addition to Clinton's poor performance in several of those swing states in comparison with Obama's performance in 2012, as well as having a big number of her potential voters in very populated traditionally 'blue' states, but also in some very populated states traditionally 'red', like Texas, which were projected safe for Trump. [516]

Early exit polls generally favored Clinton. [517] After the polls closed and some of the results came in, the forecasts were found to be inaccurate, as Trump performed better in the competitive Midwestern states, such as Iowa, Ohio, and Minnesota, than expected. Three states (Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan) which were considered to be part of Clinton's firewall, were won by Trump. [517] Of the states in the Great Lakes region, Clinton won the swing state of Minnesota by one point, as well as traditional Democratic strongholds such as New York and Illinois with populous urban centers. This result stands in contrast to that of 2012, when President Obama won all but Indiana and North Carolina, which he carried in 2008. This table displays the final polling average published by Real Clear Politics on November 7, the actual electoral margin, and the over-performance by either candidate relative to the polls.

StateElectoral votesPolling averageFinal resultDifference
Arizona11Trump +4 [518] Trump +3.5Clinton +0.5
Colorado9Clinton +2.9 [519] Clinton +4.9Clinton +2
Florida29Trump +0.2 [520] Trump +1.2Trump +1
Georgia16Trump +4.8 [521] Trump +5.1Trump +0.3
Iowa6Trump +3 [522] Trump +9.5Trump +6.5
Maine4Clinton +4.5 [523] Clinton +2.9Trump +1.6
Michigan16Clinton +3.4 [524] Trump +0.3Trump +3.7
Minnesota10Clinton +6.2 [525] Clinton +1.5Trump +4.7
Nevada6Trump +0.8 [526] Clinton +2.4Clinton +3.2
New Hampshire4Clinton +0.6 [527] Clinton +0.3Trump +0.3
New Mexico5Clinton +5 [528] Clinton +8.3Clinton +3.3
North Carolina15Trump +1 [529] Trump +3.7Trump +2.7
Ohio18Trump +3.5 [530] Trump +8.1Trump +4.6
Pennsylvania20Clinton +1.9 [531] Trump +0.7Trump +2.6
Virginia13Clinton +5 [532] Clinton +5.4Clinton +0.4
Wisconsin10Clinton +6.5 [533] Trump +0.7Trump +7.2

Many pollsters were puzzled by the failure of mainstream forecasting models to predict the outcome of the 2016 election. [534] [535] Some journalists compared the 2016 election to the failure of prognosticator Arthur Henning in the "Dewey Defeats Truman" incident from the 1948 presidential election. [536] [537] Sean Trende, writing for RealClearPolitics , wrote that many of the polls were accurate, but that the pundits' interpretation of these polls neglected polling error. [538] Nate Silver found that the high number of undecided and third-party voters in the election was neglected in many of these models, and that many of these voters decided to vote for Trump. [539] According to a February 2018 study by Public Opinion Quarterly, the main sources of polling error were "a late swing in vote preference toward Trump and a pervasive failure to adjust for over-representation of college graduates (who favored Clinton)," whereas the share of "shy" Trump voters (who declined to admit their support for Trump to the pollsters) proved to be negligible. [540]

FiveThirtyEight's final polls-plus forecast predicted 18 states, plus the second congressional districts of Maine and Nebraska, with an interval of confidence lower than 90%. [541] [542] However, every major forecaster, including FiveThirtyEight, The New York Times Upshot, prediction markets aggregator PredictWise, ElectionBettingOdds from Maxim Lott and John Stossel, the DailyKos, the Princeton Election Consortium, the Huffington Post, the Cook Political Report, Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball, and the Rothenberg and Gonzales Report, called every state the same way (although Cook and Rothenberg-Gonzales left two and five states as toss-ups, respectively). The lone exception was Maine's 2nd congressional district. Of the forecasters who published results on the district, the Times gave Trump a 64% chance of winning and PredictWise a 52% chance, FiveThirtyEight gave Clinton a 51% chance of winning in polls-only and 54% in polls-plus, Princeton gave her a 60% chance, Cook labelled it a toss-up, and Sabato leaned it towards Trump. [106] The following table displays the final winning probabilities given by each outlet, along with the final electoral result. The states shown have been identified by Politico, [543] WhipBoard, [544] the New York Times , [545] and the Crystal Ball as battlegrounds.

State New York Times Upshot [545] FiveThirtyEight [545] PredictWise [545] Princeton Election Consortium [545] Sabato's Crystal Ball [545] 2012 margin 2016 margin
Alaska 83% R76% R94% R96% RLikely R14 R15 R
Arizona 84% R67% R82% R91% RLean R9 R4 R
Colorado 89% D78% D95% D96% DLikely D5 D5 D
Florida 67% D55% D77% D69% DLean D1 D1 R
Georgia 83% R79% R91% R88% RLikely R8 R6 R
Iowa 62% R70% R79% R74% RLean R6 D10 R
Maine (statewide) 91% D83% D98% D98% DLikely D15 D3 D
Maine (CD-2) 64% R51% D52% R60% DLean R9 D10 R
Michigan 94% D79% D95% D79% DLean D9 D1 R
Minnesota 94% D85% D99% D98% DLikely D8 D2 D
Nebraska (CD-2) 80% R56% R75% R92% RLean R7 R3 R
New Mexico 95% D83% D98% D91% DLikely D10 D8 D
Nevada 68% D58% D91% D84% DLean D7 D2 D
New Hampshire 79% D70% D84% D63% DLean D6 D1 D
North Carolina 64% D56% D66% D67% DLean D2 R4 R
Ohio 54% R65% R67% R63% RLean R3 D9 R
Pennsylvania 89% D77% D93% D79% DLean D5 D1 R
Utah 73% R83% R86% R99% RLean R48 R18 R
Virginia 96% D86% D98% D98% DLikely D4 D5 D
Wisconsin 93% D84% D98% D98% DLikely D7 D1 R


Post-election events and controversies

Trump's victory, considered unlikely by most forecasts, [547] [548] [549] [550] [551] was characterized as an "upset" and as "shocking" by the media. [552] [553] [554] [555] Trump himself thought he would lose even as the polls were closing. [556]