Could Barack Obama really have beaten Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election? Now you can take the poll and make your voice heard in the most-discussed hypothetical presidential matchup perhaps ever.
Many expected Hillary Clinton to make short work of Donald Trump, the scandal-plagued and free-speaking Republican candidate who appeared to be playing from behind the entire campaign. Polls throughout the campaign put Trump consistently behind Clinton by as much as double digits after the release of a controversial 2005 Access Hollywood video that appeared to show Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women.
Yet it was Trump who prevailed on Election Day, with his economic message resonating with white working-class voters in the Rust Belt states of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. Trump flipped all three of those states from blue to red, stealing the election from Hillary Clinton despite losing the popular vote by close to 3 million votes.
One of Clinton’s key faults was her inability to bring together the winning coalition Obama had relied on consisting of young voters and black and Hispanic voters.
In the weeks that followed the election, a new question has arisen, and many wonder if Barack Obama could have beaten Trump, were he allowed to run. Obama was up against his constitutional limit for presidential terms, but many of his supporters believe he could have mobilized the same coalition of voters who elected him to the White House two previous times.
Do you think Barack Obama could have beaten Donald Trump in the presidential election? You can take the poll below and make your voice heard.
Barack Obama first raised the issue this week. Appearing on the podcast of his former campaign manager, David Axelrod, Obama said he believes he would have defeated Trump had he been allowed to run for a third term.
“I’m confident that if I — 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 on The Axe Files(via the New York Times). “I know that in conversations that I’ve had with people around the country, even some people who disagreed with me, they would say the vision, the direction that you point towards is the right one.”
Donald Trump responded in-kind, blasting Obama on Twitter.
“President Obama said that he thinks he would have won against me,” Trump wrote. “He should say that but I say NO WAY! — jobs leaving, ISIS, OCare, etc.”
Trump took another at Obama on Twitter in the early morning hours on Wednesday.
“Doing my best to disregard the many inflammatory President O statements and roadblocks. Thought it was going to be a smooth transition – NOT!”
But as Politico noted, Trump seemed to backtrack on his comments later in the day and noted that there is no bad blood with Barack Obama.
“Our staffs have been getting along very well, and I’m getting along very well with him,” he told reporters, “other than a couple of statements that I responded to and we talked about it and smiled about it and nobody is ever going to know because we are never going to be going against each other.”
The question over whether Barack Obama could have defeated Donald Trump has divided political experts. While Obama has remained more popular than Trump, and also more popular than Hillary Clinton, some argue that Trump still would have been able to tap into working-class voters who feel left behind during the economic recovery under Barack Obama.
Do you think Barack Obama could have beaten Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential race? You can make your voice heard in the poll above.
[Featured Image by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]