Yes, Clinton has gotten the most votes, but GOP has more overall

Hillary Clinton applauds during her victory speech in Florida Tuesday.
Hillary Clinton applauds during her victory speech in Florida Tuesday.
Lynne Sladky/AP

Hillary Clinton claimed at a recent debate that she'd gotten the most votes in this 2016 presidential election.

That's true, actually.

Yes, she's gotten more votes than Donald Trump.

But the GOP has gotten more total votes because of its larger field of candidates. Republicans have shattered turnout records across the country this year, as NPR's Danielle Kurtzleben has reported.

Based on totals maintained by The Green Papers, which tracks primaries and caucuses, here are the totals:

Overall vote

Republicans 20,375,925
Democrats 15,070,178

By candidate

Clinton 8,668,136
Trump 7,548,429
Sanders 6,131,951
Cruz 5,484,494
Rubio 3,394,134
Kasich 2,725,327
Carson 677,307
Bush 249,894
O'Malley 94,692

A couple of fun facts: Martin O'Malley withdrew after his disappointing third-place finish in Iowa and yet has gotten more total votes than a handful of prominent Republican candidates, including Rand Paul (54,193), Chris Christie (51,683), Mike Huckabee (45,977), Carly Fiorina (34,040) and others.

In fact, the seventh-highest vote-getter for Republicans is "uncommitted" (64,981).

Democrat Roque "Rocky" De La Fuente, a Cadillac dealer and real-estate developer from San Diego, has gotten more votes (32,583) than former Sen. Rick Santorum (15,256), current Sen. Lindsey Graham (5,202), former Gov. Jim Gilmore of Virginia (2,673), former New York Gov. George Pataki (1,701) and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (221) combined.

Trump — and anger toward President Obama — has undoubtedly brought out more voters to the Republican primary this year. But too many conclusions should not be drawn from primary turnout and what it could mean for a general election.

As Harry Enten at 538 writes:

"[V]oter turnout is an indication of the competitiveness of a primary contest, not of what will happen in the general election. The GOP presidential primary is more competitive than the Democratic race. Indeed, history suggests that there is no relationship between primary turnout and the general election outcome. You can see this on the most basic level by looking at raw turnout in years in which both parties had competitive primaries."

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