During this election cycle, much has been made of the possibility that Virginia could turn blue in November. But Senator Obama's success in the state will likely depend on how well he can do in Southwest Virginia. A fascinating piece in The New Yorker examines the challenges he'll face in this part of the state.
Although the New Yorker piece suggests Obama might have a pretty solid chance at winning here Jim Geraghty's analysis seems to be far more realistic. Senator Obama is farther to the left philisophically than Mark Warner or Jim Webb and is going to have a harder time making significant inroads here.
One other thing to note here: although polls show Obama ahead here (Rassmussen has him up by 3 points today), the state is politically diverse and support for each of the candidates runs stronger in different parts of the state. Most internals to polls will talk about party affiiliation, gender, race, and other demographic factors. But to really determine whether a poll here is accurate you need to know where the respondents live.
When election day rolls around, don't be surprised if Virginia becomes the state that ultimately determines the outcome of the election. It may go either way but it's not as much of a lock for Democrats as they would like to make it out to be.