FILE - In this Aug. 3, 2018, file photo, Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams answers her phone before speaking at the National Association of Black Journalists in Detroit. Southern politics was a one-party affair for a long time. But now it’s a mixed bag with battlegrounds emerging in states with growing metro areas where white voters are more willing to back Democrats. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

Midterms reveal South split along urban, rural differences

November 26, 2018 - 12:34 am

ATLANTA (AP) — Southern politics was a one-party affair for a long time. First it was Democrats in charge. Then it was Republicans.

Now it's a mixed bag.

Returns from this month's elections and data from a national survey of more than 115,000 midterm voters, AP VoteCast, help explain why.

States with more diverse populations and growing metro areas have become more competitive. Virginia has been on that path longer than some other states and is now trending firmly to Democrats. Georgia and North Carolina have emerged as battlegrounds.

The Southern states with smaller cities are still more starkly divided along racial lines. Whites lean heavily Republican and black voters lean heavily Democratic. The overall result favors Republicans in states such as Alabama and Mississippi.

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