Preliminary results from Tuesday’s primaries have pushed Donald Trump to a total of some 10 million votes, which, according to Politico, puts him in a position to become the most popular Republican candidate in decades.
In the entire 2012 primary season, Mitt Romney only earned 9.8 million votes, while in 2008 John McCain earned 9.9 million. In 2000, George W. Bush earned 10.8 million—the modern record. From Politico:
That presents an uncomfortable reality for anti-Trump forces: they’re attempting to thwart the candidate who is likely to win more Republican primary votes than any GOP contender in at least the last 36 years, and maybe ever.
In an email to POLITICO, University of Minnesota political science professor (and Smart Politics blogger) Eric Ostermeier noted that only eight candidates have won more than 7.5 million Republican primary votes since the advent of the modern primary and caucus system. Ronald Reagan won about 7.7 million votes in 1980, the fewest other than George W. Bush’s 7.6 million in 2004, when he didn’t face a primary challenge.