Former Democratic US Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks to staff and supporters at the New Yorker hotel after her defeat in the presidential election November 9, 2016 in New York. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski        (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
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Former Democratic US Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks to staff and supporters at the New Yorker hotel after her defeat in the presidential election November 9, 2016 in New York. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
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Story highlights

Clinton lost the Electoral College solidly

Trump once criticized the Electoral College though he now lauds it

(CNN) —  

Hillary Clinton’s lead in the popular vote is now nearing 2 million votes, approaching the milestone as the campaign begins to hear from scientists who want to see a recount in several states.

Clinton lost the Electoral College solidly, and the climbing popular vote spread doesn’t change anything about who will hold power in Washington.

But some Clinton aides and allies have pointed to the gap as a reason to doubt any mandate that President-elect Donald Trump may draw from his victory on Election Day.

04:42 - Source: CNN
Could Electoral College pick the President?

As of Wednesday afternoon, Clinton leads Trump by 1.82 million votes, 63,964,956 to 62,139,188, according to preliminary figures.

Clinton’s loss on November 8 was largely due to underperfomance in a trio of Rust Belt states, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

02:09 - Source: CNN
How Trump won swing state PA

Trump won Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and Michigan remains too close to call, more than two weeks after Election Day.

But a group of scientists are now pressuring the Clinton campaign to challenge those election results and call for a recount, sensing irregularities and possible hackings of vote totals.

Trump, who once criticized the Electoral College as undemocratic, now salutes it as having a “certain genius.”

02:14 - Source: CNN
Clinton can win popular vote, Trump still wins election

“We actually went to about 22 states, whereas if you’re going for popular vote, you’d probably go to four, or three, it could be three,” Trump told The New York Times on Tuesday. “You wouldn’t leave New York. You’d stay in New York and you’d stay in California.”

CNN’s Robert Yoon contributed to this report.