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Analysis: Virginia Results Could Forecast Rest Of Election Night Returns

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Virginia has been the focus of a lot of political attention this election season. Polling shows tight presidential and U-S Senate contests in the commonwealth and Reid Wilson, editor in chief of the National Journal Hotline, wrote this week that "Virginia is proving the canary in just about everyone's coal mine." Wilson talks with WAMU's Morning Edition host Matt McCleskey about where things stand in the swing state less than two weeks before the election.

Why Wilson sees Virginia as "a canary in the coal mine:" Virginia has a pretty good history of counting votes relatively quickly on election night, and the polls close at 7 p.m. there," Wilson says. "So early on in the night we're going to have a pretty good bell-weather that's going to hint at what comes along in the rest of the night. I think if we're going to see some kind of big wave sweeping across the country on Nov. 6, it's going to start in Virginia and we're going ot have a hint pretty early."  

How the presidential race is shaping up in the commonwealth: "It's just about as tied as you can get. Some of the recent polling shows Mitt Romney, or President Obama leading by a point or two here or there … but we haven't seen any polls that we trust over the past couple of days," Wilson says. "Internally Mitt Romney and the Republicans are starting to feel a little more confident about their abilities in the state, The last couple of debates seem to have turned the tide for Romney in a couple of swing states, most notably in North Carolina, Florida and now it looks like Virginia. 

How the third party candidacy of Virgil Goode in Virginia could affect the race: "The Republicans are a little worried about Virgil Goode and his ability to take at least a few thousand votes from what would otherwise be Mitt Romney voters in areas like southwest and down towards the North Carolina border in the district he used to represent," Wilson says. "If he's able to do that and this truly is a race that's decide by just a few thousand votes, Goode has the potential to swing hits race from a Romney win to an Obama win, or at least make things a little more different for Romney. 

Where things stand in the U.S. Senate race between Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican George Allen: "We haven't seen a public poll that shows George Allen leading at all since July," Wilson says. "Now, both sides have internal surveys that we've seen over the past couple of weeks, that show them leading by just a few points, one way or the other. But we haven't seen any public polls that show Allen up by any kind of margin aside from "robo-polls" that are viewed as less rigorous than live caller polls. That tells me that Tim Kaine is probably ahead by a small margin today. " 

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