Friday, October 24th, 2014
Mostly True
Obama
"We've won twice as many states. We've won a greater share of the popular vote."

Barack Obama on Wednesday, March 5th, 2008 in an interview on the Today Show.

A slight lead in popular vote

After losing the Texas and Ohio primaries March 4, 2008, Sen. Barack Obama tried to downplay the losses by emphasizing that he leads Sen. Hillary Clinton in delegates and the popular vote.

"The bottom line is, we've won twice as many states. We've won a greater share of the popular vote," he said.

The first part is easy to assess. At the point when he made this comment, Obama had won primaries or caucuses in 25 states (including the District of Columbia), while Clinton had won 14 states (not counting Florida and Michigan). Obama's math is off, but he's in the ballpark. Still, he would have been more accurate if he said he had won nearly twice as many states.

The second part is a little trickier because some states that held caucuses — Iowa, Nevada, Washington and Maine — have not released popular vote totals. They've only released the percentage of the vote and the number of delegates won.

Also, the election results from Florida and Michigan are in limbo because the Democratic National Committee has not recognized the results from those states because they defied the DNC schedule. It's further complicated by the fact that Obama was not on the ballot in Michigan.

Adding up vote totals from the other contests, PolitiFact finds Obama to be ahead (as of March 7, 2008) by 13,002,527 to 12,413,052 if Michigan and Florida are not counted. He's also ahead by 13,578,741 to 13,284,038 if Florida is included but Michigan is not.

The only scenario in which Clinton is ahead is if Michigan is also included. She has 13,612,347 to Obama's 13,578,741.

We have to give thanks to RealClearPolitics.com, which tracks popular vote totals and provides links to results on state Web sites. We went to those individual sites and tallied the numbers on a spreadsheet.

Keep in mind, some states are still adding up votes and these numbers will change. Also, we completed these calculations before the March 8, 2008, Wyoming caucus, so those results are not included.

Back to Obama's claim: We find he has it mostly right. On the first part, he'd be better off hedging his claim on winning twice as many states as Clinton. But on the matter of popular vote, Obama is accurate. Though, to be fail-safe, he should have specified that he was excluding Michigan. Overall, we find his claim to be Mostly True.