In terms of the US presidential election system, it is how many people all across the country voted someone, as opposed to how many electoral votes the candidate got. Popular vote doesn't actually matter, as we can see in the recent election. The winner of the popular vote in a state gets the electoral votes for that state. Therefore, it is possible for a candidate to win the presidential election without having the popular vote in the country.

Also, popular vote for election is never known since not all votes are counted. When a candidate gets the votes of 51% of a state's registered voters, the rest of the ballots can be ignored. Therefore, you can't say that Al Gore won the popular vote, since he only "won" it by about 300, 000 and in just California more than that many votes were ignored.

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