ONOLULU (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama said in an interview broadcast on Monday that he would have won most Americans' support if he had been able to run against Donald Trump for a third term.
"No way!" Trump countered in a tweet, citing as liabilities U.S. companies taking jobs overseas, the fight against Islamic State militants and Obama's signature healthcare law.
Barred by the U.S. Constitution from seeking a third four-year-term, the president told his former adviser David Axelrod in a podcast that Americans would have backed Obama's vision.
"I'm confident that if I had run again and articulated it, I think I could've mobilized a majority of the American people to rally behind it," Obama said, referring to his 2008 campaign message of hope and change.
A wealthy businessman, the Republican Trump will assume his first public office when he succeeds Obama on Jan. 20. He defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton on Nov. 8 with a promise to clean up Washington.
In a tweet, Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon said Obama would have beaten Trump and Clinton would have won if not for an FBI statement shortly before the election disclosing new material on Clinton's email practices as secretary of state.
Clinton's aides have said FBI Director James Comey's announcement, which led to no charges, swung the election, a charge Trump's team has dismissed.
Obama said Clinton "performed wonderfully under really tough circumstances." He said she focused on Trump's flaws and could have argued more that the Democratic Party agenda helped working people.
Trump garnered more than 270 of the 538 state-by-state electoral votes to win the presidency. Clinton won 48.2 percent of the popular vote compared with 46.1 percent for Trump, according to the Associated Press.
By Emily Stephenson | HONOLULU
PPP's newest national poll find that although Donald Trump is a little bit more popular than he was during the campaign, a majority of Americans still have a negative opinion of him. 43% of voters view Trump favorably to 51% who have an unfavorable view of him. On PPP's last national poll, in late September, Trump's favorability rating stood at 39/55. Trump's popularity continues to pale in comparison to Barack Obama's. Obama ends his final year in office with a 50/45 approval spread. When it comes to the question of who voters trust more to pick the new Supreme Court justice, Obama beats out Trump 52-45.
Voters don't think that Trump's Electoral College victory while losing the popular vote is really fair- 50% think the candidate who receives the most votes nationally in the election should become President, to only 37% who disagree with that concept. Over the course of the campaign we found there was a cult like aspect to Trump's support, where any idea he put forth a substantial share of his supporters would go along with. We see that trend continuing post election. 60% of Trump voters think that Hillary Clinton received millions of illegal votes to only 18% who disagree with that concept and 22% who aren't sure either way.
A couple other findings related to the vote in this year's election:
-40% of Trump voters insist that he won the national popular vote to only 49% who grant that Clinton won it and 11% who aren't sure.
-Only 53% of Trump voters think that California's votes should be allowed to count in the national popular vote. 29% don't think they should be allowed to count, and another 18% are unsure.
There's been a lot of attention to the way fake news has spread and been believed especially by Trump supporters and that's borne out in our polling:
-73% of Trump voters think that George Soros is paying protesters against Trump to only 6% who think that's not true, and 21% who aren't sure one way or the other. (I personally had to explain to my Grandmother that this wasn't true a few weeks ag0 after someone sent her an e-mail about it.)
-14% of Trump supporters think Hillary Clinton is connected to a child sex ring run out of a Washington DC pizzeria. Another 32% aren't sure one way or another, much as the North Carolinian who went to Washington to check it out last weekend said was the case for him. Only 54% of Trump voters expressly say they don't think #Pizzagate is real.
There's also been a lot of discussion recently about how we might be in a post-fact world and we see some evidence of that coming through in our polling:
-67% of Trump voters say that unemployment increased during the Obama administration, to only 20% who say it decreased.
-Only 41% of Trump voters say that the stock market went up during the Obama administration. 39% say it went down, and another 19% say they're not sure.
Trump's been in a variety of fights with the media recently, and he's losing all of them:
-By a 49/40 spread, voters say the New York Times has more credibility than Trump.
-By a 48/41 spread, voters say CNN has more credibility than Trump.
-While Trump's favorability rating is negative at 43/51, Saturday Night Live's is positive at 48/33.
Trump's certainly been effective at turning his voters against the various entities he's feuding with though. Among Trump voters the Times has a 7/71 favorability spread, CNN has an 11/76 favorability spread, and SNL has a 17/61 favorability spread. The musical Hamilton has an 11/45 favorability with Trump voters, compared to 61/3 with Clinton voters.
Other notes from our national poll:
-There's still a strong national consensus that Trump needs to release his tax returns. 59% say he needs to do that, to only 29% who say it's not necessary.
-Voters are pretty split on who they'd like to see as the next Secretary of State with 20% each wanting Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney, 13% for John Bolton, 11% for David Petraeus, and 7% for Jon Huntsman. Among Trump voters the preference is strongly for Giuliani who gets 32% to 21% for Bolton, 14% for Petraeus, and 10% for Romney. Among Clinton voters support is strong for Romney at 28%, followed by Huntsman at 10% with no one else in double digits.
-Steven Bannon is unpopular among voters who are familiar with him, with 18% rating him positively to 33% with a negative opinion. The good news for Trump is that only 51% of voters are actually familiar with Bannon though. Kellyanne Conway is much better known, with 66% name recognition, and she has a narrowly positive image among voters nationally at 34/32.
-Congress is about as unpopular as ever, with only 10% of voters approving of it to 75% who disapprove. Paul Ryan has a 37/49 approval rating as Speaker and that makes him look positively popular next to Mitch McConnell who has a 16/56 approval rating nationally and is the least popular politician nationally in the country.
-Finally in these divided times we find there are some issues that Clinton and Trump supporter do agree on:
*There's 89/8 support nationally for expanded background checks on gun purchases, including support from 96% of Clinton voters and 81% of Trump voters.
*There's 84/8 support nationally for barring those on the Terror Watch List from buying guns, including support from 90% of Clinton voters and 80% of Trump voters.
*There's 76% support nationally for increasing the minimum wage to at least $10 an hour, including support from 95% of Clinton voters and 54% of Trump voters.