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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Clinton Counties

Q: In the election, did Hillary Clinton only win 57 out of 3,141 counties? 

A: No. Clinton won at least 487 counties, according to two different counts of preliminary results.



A friend is sending this email to everyone he knows. Is it factual?

Our Founders in their infinite wisdom created the Electoral College to ensure the STATES were fairly represented. Why should one or two densely populated areas speak for the whole of the nation?

The following list of statistics has been making the rounds on the Internet and it should finally put an end to the argument as to why the Electoral College makes sense.

There are 3,141 counties in the United States.

Trump won 3,084 of them.

Clinton won 57.

There are 62 counties in New York State.

Trump won 46 of them.

Clinton won 16.

In the 5 counties that encompass NYC, (Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Richmond & Queens) Clinton received well over 2 million more votes than Trump. (Clinton only won 4 of these counties; Trump won Richmond)


The anonymous author of this email may have gotten these numbers from a Breitbart News article written by Michael Patrick Leahy and published on Nov. 15, a week after the election. But the email twists the information from the article.

Leahy wrote that “Donald Trump won an overwhelming 7.5 million popular vote victory in 3,084 of the country’s 3,141 counties or county equivalents in America’s heartland.”

He isn’t saying that Trump won all 3,084 counties outright, just that in those 3,084 counties in what he calls “America’s heartland,” Trump won the popular vote by a large margin.

Leahy also wrote that “Hillary Clinton, in contrast, had an 8.2 million vote margin in a narrow band of 52 coastal counties and five ‘county equivalent’ cities stretching from San Diego to Seattle on the West Coast and Northern Virginia to Boston on the East Coast.”

It’s pretty easy to disprove the email’s very different claim, which is that Trump won all of the 3,084 counties that Leahy looked at in his “heartland” exercise, and that Clinton won only 57 overall.

Let’s look at Texas and Georgia – two states that Clinton lost.

In Texas, which has 38 electoral votes, Clinton won 27 counties. And in Georgia, which has 16 electoral votes, Clinton won 31 counties. That’s 58 counties without including any counties that Clinton won in any of the other states, including in the 20 states that she carried in the election.

The Associated Press debunked the claim that Clinton only won 57 counties across the country in an article published Dec. 6.

“The Associated Press finds that Clinton won 487 counties nationwide, compared with 2,626 for President-elect Donald Trump,” the article says.

The news agency said that it “considers parishes in Louisiana as counties in election tallies” and that “Virginia’s count includes 95 counties and 38 independent cities.”

The AP’s totals for Clinton and Trump are very close to what PolitiFact.com reported. The nonpartisan fact-checking website found that Clinton and Trump won 489 and 2,623 counties, respectively, based on preliminary county results from David Leip’s “Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections.”

As for that last claim in the email about New York, the numbers are largely correct. There are 62 counties in the state, and, as the email claimed, Trump won 46 of them and Clinton won 16. Clinton’s lead in the five counties that make up New York City is exaggerated, though. She received about 1.5 million more votes than Trump in those five counties, not the “well over 2 million” claimed in the email.

The difference in population size among counties can be dramatic — for example, Census data show that Kings County, New York, which is in Brooklyn (and which Clinton won), has a population of 2.6 million people, while Petroleum County, Montana (which Trump won) has 475 people. So, even though Trump won more counties, Clinton is leading in the national popular vote by nearly 2.7 million votes, according to the latest tally from David Wasserman of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report as of Dec. 9.


Leahy, Michael Patrick. “Donald Trump won 7.5 million popular vote landslide in heartland.” Breitbart.com. 15 Nov 2016.

Associated Press. “Trending story that Clinton won just 57 counties is untrue.” 6 Dec 2016.

Jacobson, Louis. “Mike Pence says Donald Trump won most counties by a Republican since Reagan.” Politifact.com. 4 Dec 2016.

New York Times. “New York Results.” Accessed 9 Dec 2016.

Wasserman, David. 2016 National Popular Vote Tracker. The Cook Political Report. Accessed 9 Dec 2016.