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December 18, 2016

Poll: More than half of Republicans believe Trump won popular vote

The 2016 presidential election has come and gone. We all know the outcome. Donald Trump will be America's next president as of late January. 

In the weeks since the election, Jill Stein's multi-state recount effort has captured headlines and inspired some to consider the initiative a public service. The movement overall has been regarded as largely symbolic, however, much like Hillary Clinton's nearly 3 million-ballot advantage in the popular vote.

If you ask some voters, especially Republicans, Clinton did not in fact win the popular vote on Nov. 8. That's according to a new Qualtrics poll that found 52 percent of Republicans believe Trump took the majority of votes along with his substantial Electoral College victory.

The nationally representative survey, held between Dec. 6 and Dec. 12, asked 1,011 respondents point blank who they thought won the popular vote.

Among those with the lowest level of education — a high school diploma — a full 60 percent of respondents said they thought Trump took the most votes, compared to 12 percent of Democrats. Thirty-seven percent of Republican respondents with college degrees said Trump won the popular vote.

The Qualtrics poll found 29 percent of all American voters actually think Trump won the popular vote. An earlier Pew survey pegged that number at 19 percent.

Where might these mistaken voters have picked up such an erroneous notion? Here might be a healthy start. 

Trump never provided any documented proof of this claim. 

Other observers have suggested, amid a public and institutional backlash against "fake news," that incorrect reporting partly to blame for this myth, specifically stories that made their way near the top of Google's search rankings.

Facebook, which has been scrutinized for lettering fake news stories pass, announced last week that it will crack down on such misleading reports with help from University of Pennsylvania-based