Michael Dukakis lost the 1988 presidential election by 7% of the popular vote and by 426 to 111 in the Electoral College. Yet, Dukakis won considerably more counties than President Obama who won by 4% of the popular vote and by 332 to 206 electoral votes.
In fact, Dukakis won 819 counties, while Obama took 620 out of the nation's 3,144.
Obama won less counties but won highly populated suburban counties, like Montgomery and Delaware counties in Pennsylvania, while Dukakis was crushed in them during the 1988 election. The President's rising strength in the most populous counties more than compensated for his poor performance in rural and modestly populated counties.
Bottom line is that the presidency is won by the candidate who wins most votes (sort of) and not most acres.