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National Election Model with 95% Accuracy Predicts Biden’s Reelection Thanks to Wins in NC, Other Swing States

Source: The News & Observer

One of the top storylines in every presidential election since President Barack Obama’s victory in 2008 has been, “Will North Carolina go blue again this time?” The answer has been “No” every time, but this year could be different – at least according to a recent national model forecast.

Moody’s Analytics election model has predicted President Joe Biden will win reelection “by a thin margin with average voter turnout,” thanks to victories in swing states, including North Carolina.

Swing state polling so far has yet to paint a pretty picture for Biden’s reelection chances, but the Moody’s Analytics model is different. According to The News & Observer, the Moody’s model uses economic data to predict election results because, historically, the economy is one of the strongest predictors of presidential elections. The economy, whether good or bad, is always one of the issues that voters have top of mind when they fill out their ballot and it factors heavily into how people vote.

Moody’s model has perfectly predicted the winner of every presidential election since President Harry Truman’s victory in 1948, except for 2020, which is considered an outlier due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That means Moody’s has been right in 18 out of the last 19 elections (95% accuracy).

So, why does this highly accurate election model disagree with what we see in swing state voter polls, and specifically in North Carolina? Justin Begley, a Moody’s economist and co-author of the report, explained to The N&O that there are three major factors.

According to Begley, the first factor is that Donald Trump only won North Carolina in 2020 by a 1.34% margin, which was less than 75,000 votes. North Carolina was Trump’s narrowest victory and was the only state he won in which he received less than 50% of the vote. Those close margins are why the Biden campaign has made North Carolina one of their top priorities in 2024.

The second factor is that North Carolina’s electorate is changing quickly. The state has seen especially strong population growth since 2020, including among immigrants and people who have relocated to the Tar Heel State.

But, as Begley points out, some red parts of the state are also growing quickly. That said, North Carolina has seen large numbers of residents coming from blue states, which could end up working in Democrats’ favor.

“That carries the potential to make North Carolina at the very least look a little bit more purple, and in 2024, our baseline would be that it actually makes North Carolina blue for this upcoming election,” Begley told The N&O.

The third major factor is North Carolina’s economy. The state’s economy has been strong and the projected income growth of residents is above the national average, Begley said. A strong economy and more money in voters’ bank accounts tend to create momentum for incumbent presidents, which could give Biden bigger numbers in November.

One thing to note is that Moody’s model predicts a 0.3% margin of victory for Biden in North Carolina. Even a small change in variables accounted for in the model could change the outcome from a slim win to a slim loss.

That means a slight change in voter turnout, third-party vote share, and even gas prices could tip the scales in North Carolina.

While this model should provide some reassurance for Democrats, it’s still early and many things can – and will – change between now and Nov. 5. The result of the election won’t change North Carolina’s status as a swing state, but it could be another chance for Democrats to take advantage of momentum, which they failed to do after 2008.


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