And Biden starts the general election against President Donald Trump as the front-runner — albeit not a huge one.
But the presidential election isn’t a national popular vote, you will say. And remember what happened in 2016, you will note.
True! 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. There are six states (and one congressional district) in Toss-Up: Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Nebraska’s 2nd district. Those add up to 102 Electoral votes.”
“The President is an underdog now in his bid for a second term. That doesn’t mean he can’t win. It simply means that he is in a more difficult place than he was before, in part because Democrats have united behind a consensus candidate who has potentially broad appeal.”
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.
But that’s in the fuzzy future. And we are very much in the present right now.
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.