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Why Joe Biden starts as the general election front-runner

April 8, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks during a rally at Tougaloo College in Tougaloo, Mississippi on March 8, 2020. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

With Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders' decision to end his campaign on Wednesday, it's now official: Former Vice President Joe Biden will be the Democratic presidential nominee this fall.

(CNN)With Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders' decision to end his campaign on Wednesday, it's now official: Former Vice President Joe Biden will be the Democratic presidential nominee this fall.

And Biden starts the general election against President Donald Trump as the front-runner -- albeit not a huge one.

A new Quinnipiac University national poll released Wednesday afternoon put Biden at 49% to Trump's 41%.

That's broadly consistent with the Real Clear Politics average of all general election matchups between the two; RCP shows Biden with an average of a 6-point lead over Sanders.

But the presidential election isn't a national popular vote, you will say.

But neutral political handicappers also give Biden a small but discernible edge over Trump in the race to 270 electoral votes.

"Biden starts with a slight lead in the Electoral College math.

Right now, 232 electoral votes sit in Lean/Likely or Solid Democrat.

On the GOP side, 204 electoral votes are in the Lean/Likely/Solid Republican column.

Those add up to 102 Electoral votes. "

Around that same time, Stu Rothenberg, founder of the Rothenberg Political Report, concluded much the same thing as he wrote:

As Rothenberg rightly notes, things change!

Four years ago, polls and Electoral College handicapping would have suggested Hillary Clinton was a clear favorite -- and we know how that turned out.

The Point: If today is rightly understood as the first day of the 2020 general election, then as of day one, Joe Biden is more likely to be elected president on November 3 than Donald Trump.

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