Paul  Kengor
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Editor’s note: This article first appeared at American Spectator.

Shortly after the November election, I wrote an article titled, “McCain Beats Romney!” The article focused on initial reports showing that Mitt Romney received fewer votes in 2012 than John McCain received in 2008. Those reports utterly shocked and depressed conservatives.

How many fewer votes? It looked like Romney got 2-3 million less votes than McCain. I wrote at the time: “Additional votes are still coming in, but, as of the time of my writing, Romney received around 57.8 million votes in 2012. In 2008, John McCain received 59.9 million. Romney got over 2 million less votes than McCain.”

More votes remained out there. Nonetheless, when the final count was tallied, I figured that Romney would still receive fewer votes than McCain.

Well, the final count is alas approaching, chronicled by the 2012 National Popular Vote Tracker, maintained by David Wasserman. And it has a rare flicker of good news for Mitt Romney: He has surpassed John McCain’s 2008 vote total.

The latest near-final tally has Romney with 60.7 million votes, which is higher than McCain’s 59.9 million votes. That’s the good news for Mitt Romney. The bad news: It’s not a lot higher than McCain’s total, and certainly not high enough to have overtaken Barack Obama. In fact, Romney’s total is only about 1 percent higher than McCain’s.

Who would have predicted that? Republicans expected far more votes for Mitt Romney in 2012 than McCain got in 2008. Sorry, didn’t happen.

So, Mitt Romney beats John McCain, but he didn’t beat Barack Obama.

But before liberals boast about and celebrate a spectacular victory, there’s additional interesting data from the near-final vote tally. It relates not to Romney and McCain but to Barack Obama and George W. Bush—the two most recent presidents to be reelected. Consider these striking numbers:
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