Georgia, Once Reliably Red, Is Suddenly a Battleground. What Happened?

Yet there is a bipartisan consensus that the state is not exactly what it was, even just a few years ago. Its population surged from 7.9 million to 10.6 million people from 2000 to 2019, and its foreign-born population now exceeds 10 percent. While Republicans remain formidable in rural areas, an accurate portrait of 21st Century Georgia would have to include not only peach and peanut farms, but also Your DeKalb Farmers Market, a global culinary bazaar in the Atlanta suburbs staffed by workers from 40 countries that attracts both immigrants and native-born bourgeois bohemians.

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And while Mr. Trump leads Mr. Biden by 12 percentage points among college-educated whites, that is down significantly from 2016, when he won the same group by 20 percentage points.

“There’s been so much migration from the North and other parts of the country,” said Eric J. Tanenblatt, global chairman of the public policy and regulation practice at Dentons, a law firm, and the former chief of staff to former Gov. Sonny Perdue, a Republican and now Mr. Trump’s agriculture secretary. “And so you’re starting to see a turn in the suburbs more toward the Democrats.”

Charles S. Bullock III, a political scientist at the University of Georgia, puts his state in a category with Virginia, North and South Carolina, Florida and Texas, he calls the “Growth South,” as opposed to the “Stagnant South,” represented by states like Mississippi and Arkansas. He argues that this may be a better way to think about the changing region, and the Democrats’ growing strength in parts of it, than the old dichotomy between “Deep South” and “Rim South” states.

Growth South states, he said, “are attracting a racially and ethnically diverse population. So more Hispanics are moving into them, as well as a variety of Asians — Koreans, Indians, Chinese. These groups are all more Democratic than not.”

Dr. Bullock noted that in 1996, when the Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole bested saxophone-tooting son of the South Bill Clinton in Georgia, about 77 percent of the people who cast ballots in Georgia were white.

In the 2018 governor’s race, he said, that number was around 60 percent.

As the demographics have changed, Georgia politics have also been transformed by the stories of two recent Republican winners — Mr. Trump and Republican Gov. Brian Kemp — and two Democratic losers, Mr. Ossoff and Ms. Abrams.