John McCain scored a huge victory in yesterday’s Virginia Republican primary winning nearly 51% of the vote and defeating Mike Huckabee by a double-digit margin. But a closer look at the results reveals McCain’s biggest weakness: his inability to win conservative voters.

McCain won the primary by over 50,000 votes. However, when you look at the individual city and county results McCain’s problems are immediately obvious to anyone who is familiar with the state’s demographics.
Mike Huckabee won in more rural and suburban counties which are
the more conservative areas of the state. McCain won the larger cities
and urban counties that traditionally lean more towards Democratic
candidates. Even though McCain won a big victory8 he still did not do
well in traditionally Republican areas.

Virginia has
voted Republican in every presidential election since 1952. However,
this year may be the year that Virginia turns blue. Consider this: the
last two governors of Virginia have been Democrats (Mark Warner and
current governor Tim Kaine). The last time Virginia elected a senator
they picked Democrat Jim Webb over incumbent Republican George Allen.
This year, long-time Republican senator John Warner (a RINO in every
sense of the term, by the way) will retire and the aforementioned Mark
Warner is a heavy favorite to win his seat over former Republican
governor and one-time presidential candidate Jim Gilmore.
Unless McCain can figure out a way to get the conservative
Republican base behind him, he’ll have a hard time winning Virginia. If
he cannot win Virginia, he won’t be able to win the White House no
matter who the Democrats decide to nominate.