So how are you today Here some bull censored ... McCains 44. Alan Keyes garnered just 3 percent. Exit polls show that as in this years earlier GOP contests Bush continues to outperform McCain among Republican voters. While McCain rode to an upset win in Michigan last week on a surge of support from Democratic and independent voters, Virginias requirement that voters sign a pledge of loyalty to the GOP kept Democrats away from this open primary. The voters of Virginia rejected the politics of pitting one religion against another, Bush said in a swipe at McCain.
This campaign is winning and were doing it the right way. We are uniting our party without abandoning our principles. We are expanding our base without destroying our foundations. McCain called Bush and congratulated him on his victory, but said Bush strategy seems dependent on southern states and predicted it will have no impact on the upcoming coast-to-coast battles a week from tonight on Super Tuesday.
Looking Forward But there was troubling news for McCains national campaign in the Virginia exit polls, which show him being trounced 71 percent to 25 percent by Bush among Republicans who made up nearly two-thirds of the electorate. Realizing his need to make inroads with Republicans, McCain has been playing up his conservative credentials. But his poor showing in Virginia does not bode well for California's critically important primary next Tuesday. A new poll shows McCain trailing Bush by 20 points among Republicans in the Golden State. Winning Virginia will deliver Bush all 56 of the states delegates to the presidential nominating convention this summer. Turnout is up from the 1996 GOP Senate primary, the mos recent turnout measure available since the last Virginia presidential primary was held in 1988.
Bush also picked up delegates tonight with a win in the North Dakota caucuses. Polls remain open in Washington state until 11 p. m. ET. The Democratic candidates Al Gore and Bill Bradley also square off today in a primary beauty contest in Washington state. Bush was well-positioned to win in Virginia and anything less than a solid victory would have been seen as a loss after his defeat in Michigan.
The solid showing also was a victory for Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, who spearheaded the Bush effort in the state. Bush campaigned vigorously in Virginia while McCain, who initially intended to skip the contest altogether, mounted only a last-minute effort. The Bush campaign, which acknowledges spending about $1. 9 million on advertising in Virginia, estimates that McCain spent about about $1 million. But the McCain campaign never had high hopes for Virginia and may have been using the state as a foil to show off his willingness to take tough stands as he goes into more moderate states like California, Ohio and New York next week.
The Arizona senator took a number of positions that were unpopular with Virginians, calling for higher cigarette taxes and an increase in the number of flights into Reagan National Airport in Northern Virginia. Finally, McCain lashed out at leaders of the religious right movement, calling them agents of intolerance as he slammed Bush for pandering to the outer reaches of American politics. Many Christian conservative organizations are headquartered in Virginia and worked hard to rally support for Bush. In turn, McCains support among religious right voters was down to just one in 10 voters.
In Michigan and South Carolina, McCain was supported by about a quarter of those voters. A.