It's easy to overstate the impact of one race for governor but, as Mark Murray points out, Virginia is a state that increasingly looks very much like the United States as a whole.
"In the last two presidential contests, the state's popular vote (Obama 53-46 percent in '08; Obama 51-47 percent in '12) exactly matched the national popular vote... And Virginia, demographically, looks like the country at large — whites near 70 percent of the population, African Americans in the double digits, Latinos at 8 percent, Asian Americans at 6 percent. It also has a fairly even mixture of urban, suburban, and rural areas."
If this is true, then Republicans are in big, big trouble.
A new Washington Post poll shows Terry McAuliffe (D) leading Ken Cuccinelli (R) in the Virginia governor’s race by 12 points. But it’s the Democrat's whopping 24-point lead among women that should really worry Republicans. Their party is unappealing to the vast majority of women.
Some Republicans may point to New Jersey as proof their party has nothing to worry about. After all, if polls there are correct, Gov. Chris Christie (R) is headed for a landslide win in a blue state that voted for Obama in the last two presidential elections.
But there's a key difference: New Jersey polls don't also show the collapse of the Democratic Party. In Virginia, the Republican Party is reeling and their nominee for governor is losing to an otherwise very weak Democratic nominee.
There’s little doubt that Christie would be a strong national candidate if he were to win the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. But most analysts agree that winning that nomination would be incredibly tough with a GOP veering further and further to the right.
Virginia is additional proof that the task would be very hard.