I might be wrong but the popular vote doesn't indicate a popular mandate to me. The totals don't indicate a huge difference in popular votes between McCain and Obama. The different is only about 8 million perhaps I expected to see more maybe a difference of 15 or 20 million.
It doesn't matter tho since McCain didn't win those states that could have netted him this victory. The Electoral College counts more than the popular votes. Perhaps Obama was playing a good game of chess and essentially was able to garner that majority he needed in the Electoral Votes to win the Presidency.
In trying to assess the math of this election I'm looking at Real Clear Politics but all that tells me is the percentages no numbers that explain the percentages. So at this moment I'm still looking. If the popular vote totals are out there, they will be found!
ADDITION: Bloomberg says...
Obama won the highest proportion of the popular vote since Republican George H.W. Bush defeated Democrat Michael Dukakis in 1988. The 52.4 percent of the popular vote that Obama won -- 63.4 million ballots -- is the highest of any Democratic candidate since Johnson's 1964 victory.I'll keep looking!
Obama is the first Democrat since Jimmy Carter in 1976 to win more than 50 percent of the popular vote. Bill Clinton was twice elected president without getting half of the popular vote. Obama's opponent, Arizona Senator John McCain, got 56 million votes, or 46.3 percent of the total, according to the latest figures.
So far, the popular vote total is 121 million. The vote total would have to reach 135 million to exceed the 1964 turnout, when Johnson beat Barry Goldwater, another Republican senator from Arizona, Gans said.
It would take 140 million votes this year to reach the 67 percent turnout recorded in 1960 when Democrat John F. Kennedy defeated Republican Richard Nixon, he said.
The final totals may not be known for six weeks as states finish counting and verifying the results, Gans said. For example, in California, the most populous state, 5 percent of precincts still haven't reported complete results.