The United States presidential election occurred on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. In an upset that stunned the world, Donald Trump was elected the 45th President of the United States. Preliminary results show Trump winning 290 votes to Clinton’s 232. Preliminary results also project Clinton narrowly winning the popular vote with 61.03 million votes to Trump’s 60.37 million. This is only the fifth time in U.S. history that a candidate has won the popular vote and lost the Electoral College.
Donald Trump secured the Republican nomination on July 19, 2016, defeating Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and John Kasich along the way. He surpassed the 1,237 delegates needed to win the nomination, taking 1,542 votes.
Hillary Clinton was officially announced as the Democratic Party nominee on July 26, 2016, having beaten Bernie Sanders with a total of 2,811 delegates. The Democratic Party primary race requires a total of 2,383 votes to win the nomination.
Both parties' candidates received a "convention bounce" following their party’s convention, with Hillary Clinton exiting the conventions with nearly an 8-point lead over Donald Trump. As of November 7, Clinton’s lead had narrowed to only 3.2 percent nationally. During this time many states that had seemed likely to vote in Clinton’s favor had narrowed enough that as of November 7, RealClearPolitics had 171 Electoral College votes designated as a toss-up between Clinton and Trump. These include valuable electoral states that Obama won in 2008 and 2012, like Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania. At the time of publication, Trump had won Ohio and Pennsylvania while Michigan was still in contention.
Groups outside the official campaigns, such as Super PACs, continued to have a growing role in the election cycle. As of August 1, outside groups had sponsored over 32 percent of political ads for 2016 federal elections in the U.S., double the percentage in 2010, the year of the historic Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court ruling.
As of September 22, outside groups had spent over 755 million U.S. dollars during the 2016 election cycle. This puts 2016 on track to have the highest spending by outside groups to date. The vast majority of spending is being done by Super PACs, groups who may not coordinate with a candidate’s campaign but may raise and spend unlimited amounts of money to advocate for or discourage the election of a candidate.
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