Joe Biden is on course to defeat Donald Trump in November with two more electoral college votes than he secured in 2020, assuming they are the respective Democratic and Republican presidential nominees, according to a new study.

The report by Moody’s Analytics, which specializes in modeling political and economic events, predicted Biden is on course to win a second term “by a thin margin,” picking up North Carolina, but being defeated in Arizona, which he won in 2020.

Following their victories in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primaries, Biden and Trump are the strong favorites to be their respective party’s standard bearers in November, setting up a rematch of the 2020 election.

Moody’s Analytics released its study, created by chief economist Mark Zandi, senior economist Brendan LaCerda and economist Justin Begley, at the end of January, predicting which candidate would win each state and the District of Columbia based on factors including past voting trends, approval ratings and the state of the economy.

Election map
The states Biden and Trump are on track to win in a presidential matchup, according to the latest Moody’s Analytics study.SUMMITPOST.ORG/MOODY’S

They concluded: “President Biden is expected to win re-election but by a thin margin, and the election could easily flip with only small shifts in the economy’s performance, his approval rating, voter turnout, and how well third-party candidates do. On the margin, political factors favor Trump’s candidacy, while economic factors favor Biden’s.”

In the analysis, Biden won 308 electoral college votes, two more than he achieved in 2020, and 38 more than required for victory. However the margin in Georgia, North Carolina, Nevada and Pennsylvania would be very tight, at less than 1 percentage point per state, meaning “the outcome may not be determined on election night as several states face the prospect of automatic recounts and court challenges.”

The model gives Biden some leeway, as even if he loses North Carolina and Nevada he’d still win overall by 16 electoral college votes, while also losing Georgia would bring the incumbent to the exact threshold he needs for a second term. However, also losing Pennsylvania would be fatal, with Moody’s concluding “the upcoming presidential election will likely be determined” in that state.

A new Quinnipiac University survey conducted January 25-29 found Biden is leading Trump by 50 percent to 44 percent in the national presidential matchup, up from 47 percent against 46 percent in the previous survey the university conducted in December. Biden had built up a particularly strong lead of 52 percent to 40 percent with independent voters, according to the poll.