Early returns from Virginia are not encouraging for those who are hoping that Democrat Mark Warner's popularity in the state can push Obama over the top as well. Some had hoped that Warner, who is running for the Senate against fellow former governor Jim Gilmore, would produce a "reverse coattails" effect , attracting voters who support him to vote for the other Democrats on the ticket as well.
With 10 percent of precincts reporting at a few minutes before eight, however, it appears Virginians are more than willing to split the ticket. Obama trails McCain 43-56, while Warner leads Gilmore 57-41, prompting
MSNBC to call the race for him
. Students of Virginia politics will not find this terribly surprising; in recent years the state has rarely had a governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general of the same party, even though all three offices are elected independently of one another on the same ballot every four years.