The national count (popular vote) came down to 0.52% more votes for Albert Gore Junior. That is just over 1/2 of 1%.
That number is well within the margin of error. In the absence of a national recount (of every county) we will never know who "really" won the popular vote. Some states certified their vote totals for the Presidency before all of the absentee ballots came in. Since their states were not in contention, it does not affect the outcome of the election (the electoral votes would still go to the same candidate). Generally a state will accept absentee ballots up to 2 weeks after election day (all must be postmarked on or before election day). The states that certified their total before then probably trimmed some vote totals.
I don't bring up these absentee votes because I "know" they would put Bush over the top in the "popular vote", but the possibility exists (especially since absentee ballots tend to favor Republicans).
Certainly there are voting irregularities that were tolerated in the "popular vote" totals. A number of college students have admitted to voting for Algore at home and in their college town. Other college students admitted to voting in the same town several times (St. Louis?).
Even accepting the "popular vote" total as genuine, it is like tossing a coin to see heads or tails and the coin landing on the vertical side.
Now take that same analogy and that is Florida. The left is so certain that George W. Bush did not win Florida by 500-3000 votes. Why? Because the vote was "close"? Nationally it was close yet the left never disputes those numbers.
Florida is the state where the vote was the closest (although some other states were close enough that they had automatic recounts kick in). Florida is where that coin toss leaned a little more in George W. Bush's favor.
A look at the "Bush County" map shows all of the counties (in red) that President Bush won in the United States.
Albert Gore won in high density areas (perhaps because that is where "knock and drag" can be counted on to turn out the vote). The founders realized that a few populous areas could control the fate of America. We employ the Electoral College to make things "fair".
Every now and then the left cries how we need to do away with the EC. Let's do away with 2 Senators for Rhode Island and Delaware too. Texas and California need more Senators. Oh wait, that would describe how representation is determined in the House of Representatives.
The Senate gives all states equal representation regardless of land size or population.
If there was no Electoral College, EVERY state would have had Floriduh type recount lawsuits going on. Imagine the pandemonium. Imagine the cost.