I've believed for several months now that Virginia will be one of the key states in this election. It's fascinating demographically; the northern suburbs of Washington, D.C. are heavily Democratic, but those votes are essentially cancelled out by conservatives in the south and the eastern mountains. It's not clear how the military bases on the coast will vote; the war isn't popular, but it's hard to think that those sailors would vote against a veteran.
In the past, Republicans could generally count on Virginia to break for their candidates, but demographic shifts and the GOP's unpopularity have made it a toss-up this year. For the moment, McCain's lead in the state seems to be trending slightly down, but only just barely. He and Obama are still neck-in-neck and well within the margin of error.
Virginia Republicans are concerned that McCain may not have given the state enough attention. But maybe they shouldn't fear, since, as one of my students pointed out in his current event presentation last week, Liberty University is registering all of its students and giving them Election Day off from classes to get to the polls. Meanwhile, Obama is pouring money into the commonwealth.
This is one to watch, and it's likely to get a lot more intense between now and Election Day. Good luck to those of you in the t.v. markets there; you won't be seeing anything but political commercials for the next month.