How Donald Trump really won the White House

Trump lost the popular vote by a narrow margin but won the electoral college to become the next president. A closer look at how the race was won:

As in past elections, the Republican vote covered vastly more territory, while the Democratic vote was focused in densely populated urban areas.

Hillary Clinton won the popular vote with huge tallies in Democratic, high-population areas. A look at where each party's voters were concentrated, by county.

The traditional map

Adjusting for dense areas of voting

Darker areas equal more voters

Trump won the electoral college by building support among white blue collar workers in Rust Belt states and in the South.

The country swings to the right, Democrats stay home

In many counties, Donald Trump made significant gains over Mitt Romney's 2012 totals, while Hillary Clinton underperformed compared to Barack Obama.

Gain in votes compared to 2012

0 +1,000 +1,000 +5,000 +5,000
AnchorageJuneauSeattleBangorSpokanePortlandBurlingtonPortlandMontpelierSalemHelenaFargoBismarckConcordNashuaBostonBillingsProvidenceSpringfieldNewportMinneapolisHartfordBuffaloNew HavenRapid CityIdaho FallsGrand RapidsNew YorkNewarkMilwaukeeDetroitSioux FallsMadisonPocatelloAllentownTrentonCasperClevelandPhiladelphiaChicagoWilmingtonCedar RapidsPittsburghFort WayneBaltimoreDes MoinesAnnapolisSalt Lake CityRenoOmahaColumbusCheyenneProvoParkersburgLincolnSacramentoSpringfieldCharlottesvilleSan FranciscoRichmondCharlestonHuntingtonDenverKansas CityLouisvilleLexington-FayetteTopekaHonoluluColorado SpringsJefferson CityEvansvilleRaleighWichitaSpringfieldLas VegasKnoxvilleCharlotteDecaturvilleTulsaFayettevilleSanta FeColumbiaLos AngelesMemphisOklahoma CityAlbuquerqueLittle RockAtlantaCharlestonBirminghamSan DiegoPhoenixSavannahMontgomeryDallasTucsonJacksonJacksonvilleGulfportBaton RougeNew OrleansOrlandoAustinHoustonTampaSan AntonioMiami

Note: Compares 2016 preliminary results with certified 2012 results. Grey indicates counties where both candidates did worse than their 2012 counterparts.

Trump was able to flip Florida from a blue state to a red one by getting a surge of voters that Romney couldn't capture. In places like Pinellas County, home to the cities of St. Petersburg and Clearwater, Trump improved on Romney's performance by more than 25,000 votes. Four years ago, voters there preferred Obama.

As expected, Clinton won an overwhelming majority in many city centers, but she tallied fewer votes there than Obama did four years ago. That shortcoming contributed to the loss of four Rust Belt states that had gone to Democrats in recent years.

That backslide was particularly prominent in the city and county of Philadelphia. Clinton won 82% of ballots cast, just as Obama did four years ago, but because of declining turnout, she received nearly 30,000 fewer votes than the president. She ultimately lost the state by less than 100,000 votes.

Those patterns repeated across the country, with Trump surging past Romney's vote totals in nearly 2,400 counties, propelling Trump towards the presidency.

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Sources: U.S. Census, Associated Press, Times analysis