Story highlights

Clinton lost the Electoral College solidly

Trump once criticized the Electoral College though he now lauds it

Washington 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.

Voters cast their ballots in the presidential election at the Greenwich High School polling place in Greenwich, Connecticut November 8, 2016.
After an exhausting, wild, bitter, and sometimes sordid campaign, Americans finally began voting Tuesday for a new president: either the billionaire populist Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, seeking to become the first woman to win the White House. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY        (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Could Electoral College pick the President?
04:42 - Source: CNN

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.

How Trump won swing state PA_00004303.jpg
How Trump won swing state PA
02:09 - Source: CNN

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.”

US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton makes a concession speech after being defeated by Republican president-elect Donald Trump in New York on November 9, 2016. / AFP / JEWEL SAMAD        (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Clinton can win popular vote, Trump still wins election
02:14 - Source: CNN

“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.