VCU: McCain leads Obama, Clinton in Virginia

A new poll from Virginia Commonwealth University shows that presumptive Republican nominee John McCain holds a lead over both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in Virginia. The poll—which consists of phone calls to 1,003 people, so take what you will from that—gives McCain an 8-percent lead over Obama and a 9-percent lead over Clinton.

"VCU’s Commonwealth Poll finds 44 percent of registered voters prefer McCain, compared with 36 percent for Obama, the Democratic front-runner. And if Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee, 47 percent of voters prefer McCain while 38 percent prefer Clinton."

One can guess that right now Larry Sabato’s phone is ringing like a goddamn fire alarm.

McCain is strongest in the northwest and western areas of the state—the Appalachian area where Obama has had his presumptively nominated ass handed to him in recent weeks. But if fundraising events in Charlottesville for Obama and Clinton (the absence of any McCain events) are any indicators, local support is trending in the other direction. No surprise there.

Which leads us to this New Yorker piece by George Packer, who talks to previously prominent conservatives about the decline of the GOP. Even if McCain wins the general election (and most of the people Packer speaks with doubt he will), it will be nothing but the death rattle of a party moving toward irrelevance.

The money quote from New York Times columnist David Brooks:

“The big defeat is probably coming, and then the thinking will happen. I have not yet seen the major think tanks reorient themselves, and I don’t know if they can.” He added, “You go to Capitol Hill—Republican senators know they’re fucked. They have that sense. But they don’t know what to do. There’s a hunger for new policy ideas.”