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Painting Virginia Red

By Steven Stein
Editorial Board Intern

The Palin-McCain, er, McCain-Palin ticket will touch down in Virginia tomorrow morning. Campaign posters will have John McCain’s name above Sarah Palin’s; most Virginia conservatives see the ticket the other way around.

Maybe more than in any other battleground state, Palin will be the difference maker in Virginia. The poll numbers haven’t changed -- most Virginia polls, both before and after the conventions, have shown McCain leading Obama by about 1 percentage point. But the perception of McCain’s candidacy has shifted, and there's now a palpable excitement that was previously lacking among the state’s Republican base.

Virginia’s Republicans had little to get excited about this year before Palin. The state is slowly shifting blue and Democrat Mark Warner is predicted to trounce Republican Jim Gilmore in the race for John Warner’s Senate seat. The incumbents should hold on in most congressional races, and even the county elections are rather dull. Virginians, more than Pennsylvania or Michigan residents, are values voters, and McCain didn’t rouse their passion on issues like abortion and gay marriage.

That’s where Palin comes in.

I spoke today with Toni-Michelle Travis, a George Mason University professor and expert on Virginia government. She said Palin is a dream candidate for Virginia conservatives. Virginians, she said, value “family, motherhood and military service.” Check, check and -- with Palin’s son Track off to Iraq -- check.

Without Virginia, McCain will probably have to win Michigan, Ohio and Florida to snag the Oval Office – an unlikely sweep. If McCain can capture Virginia and its 13 electoral votes, he’ll have a little breathing room. So the while polls in Virginia haven’t changed yet, Palin may have provided enough of a jolt to keep the Old Dominion red -- at least for four more years.

By Steven Stein  | September 9, 2008; 4:34 PM ET
Categories:  Stein  | Tags:  Steven Stein  
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You are so correct and that is why McCain is not letting her come alone in Virginia!!!

Posted by: Guy From LA | September 9, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

I think it's way too early to really analyze the impact of Palin. Wait until after a debate or two. As for her views, we may have reached a point in Virginia where extremist conservative nutjobs are as much a hindrance as a help.

Posted by: A. L. Flanagan | September 9, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Guy from LA - I'm not sure I understand your point. The way I see it, if this were correct and Palin were the magic-no-fail-elixir for Virginia, wouldn't it be better to send her here alone and free up McCain to hit another battleground?

For what it's worth, I'm an independent Fairfax county voter - and though I liked McCain in the past, having seen the lengths of self-reinvention that he will embrace in order to win this election, the thought of a McCain/Palin White House terrifies me. I'm pulling for Obama/Biden.

Posted by: M | September 9, 2008 8:25 PM | Report abuse

We need another civil war. There are way too many unreconstructed racists (i.e. conservatives) in the South. One whipping wasn't enough. Many more are required.

Posted by: mnjam | September 9, 2008 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin is energizing the Republicans and they need her badly. But do Republicans think that Palin is going to get the votes for another 4 years of mess and incompetence? For one thing, McCain is not healthy. Imagine Sarah Palin to be the president of the United States. A dream for the Republicans, a nightmare for the country.

Posted by: dandanj | September 9, 2008 10:25 PM | Report abuse

I love it-a Dem "nut-job" calling themself nmjam wants another war in this country where one half tries its best to kill off the other half, resulting in hundreds of thousands of Americans dying on both sides. And they complain about Irag where 5,000 have died. More died in the first 6 hrs of some battles during the Civel War. The hatred and lack of intelligence in the Democratic side is appaling. Did you support Hitler too?

Posted by: Marx Bro | September 9, 2008 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Before my Old Dominion GOP'ers get too excited about Sarah Palin, let me remind you that she is governor of state 3 times the size of Texas but with less people than Fairfax County. I am sure she is a wonderful mother, governor, blah blah blah... But y'all seem more excited about your #2 than Senator McCain, and I agree with previous comments... her qualifications for the Executive Office are paper thin should something happen to McCain. And Ms. Palin, people did NOT live aroudn the same time with Dinosaurs 6,000 years ago.

Posted by: Daddy00 | September 9, 2008 11:42 PM | Report abuse

Interesting that the school board and parents at the intended site spoke up, forcing them to change locations.
Guess not everyone is bewitched by the Wicked Witch of the North.

Posted by: DB | September 10, 2008 9:11 AM | Report abuse

The responses from the left to this relatively straightforward posting shows the extremism that makes Americans uncomfortable with the left.

Need another "civil war," conservatives are racist, Palin is an "extreme conservative nutjob," the wicked witch of the north, and a nightmare for the country. That is some stirring political debate, I tell you. Thank you for your contributions.

One seemingly logical voice seems to imply Palin is not qualified because she is a governor of small (population) state. Bill Clinton apparently disagrees.

And if Palin's qualifications are "paper thin," then Obama's aren't even on paper. Playing the qualifications game doesn't work well for the Democrats, because the Republicans can favorably compare their VP choice with the lead man on the Democratic ticket.

Posted by: Alan | September 10, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for your input, intern.

You are what is wrong with the fourth estate and politics today. Despite admitting no change in the polls, you're just SO certain that the "perception" has changed, and that makes all the difference.

Reality still counts for something, pal.

Posted by: William J. | September 10, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Ah cut the intern some slack. He seems to be right on the money given the crowd McCain/Palin attract in Fairfax today.

Call it like you see it kid. All the other geezers you intern for seem to have made up their mind already. Next time they put down McCain/Palin supporters as poor uneducated boobs, ask them if they are so smart how come their side keeps losing election after election. Seven out of the last ten to be exact. Nine if you don't count the two by Bill Clinton, the Democrat winner the left all love to hate.

Posted by: tom007 | September 10, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: mnjam | September 10, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe they finally admitted that the Post is written by interns.

Posted by: wow | September 10, 2008 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Well, I guess what may have reminded many of us of the Civil War lately is the way some folks in Georgia have been slinging the word "uppity" around lately. But, shucks, they don't mean no never mind...

No squealing from Obama about it, either. Oh, dear, was that sexist?

Posted by: carter | September 11, 2008 1:51 AM | Report abuse

ITS sad when this country is so scared to see a smart education man be president. that they fall for the token hilary and Fultime LIAR MC LIAR...

Posted by: tonny73 | September 13, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

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