In 2008, Barack Obama earned 69,498,516 votes in the presidential election, the most ever. Now, Mr. Obama’s former vice president, Democratic nominee Joe Biden, has surpassed that tally, with a record 70,470,207 votes (50.3 percent), and counting, in the 2020 election.
Biden is currently leading the popular vote against President Donald Trump, who has collected 67,280,936 votes (48.0 percent) as of Wednesday afternoon. The race for the White House continued to narrow Wednesday, hinging on just a few battleground states that are still too close to call.
With millions of votes not yet counted, it’s possible both candidates will break Mr. Obama’s record, set in the race against Senator John McCain, thanks in large part to record early voter turnout during the coronavirus pandemic.
Winning the popular vote does not secure the election — in 2016, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes but still lost the election to Mr. Trump. As of midday Wednesday, Biden has collected 227 electoral college votes, and Mr. Trump has 213.
Mr. Trump exceeded expectations on Tuesday, securing several large battleground states, including Ohio, Florida and Texas, which Democrats had hoped could flip blue this year.
The number of legally cast, but yet-to-be-counted ballots in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan are boosting Democrats’ hopes. Biden appears likely to win Arizona, which hasn’t voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1996.
Speaking at the White House in the early hours Wednesday, the president falsely claimed he had won the election, and vowed to challenge the continued counting of legal ballots all the way to the Supreme Court. Biden’s campaign called the remarks a “naked effort to take away the democratic rights of American citizens.”
Nevada, Arizona, Alaska, Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania have not yet finished counting ballots. Find full results for all races in the CBS News Election Center.