Track the Virginia Republican primary results county-by-county by clicking here: Virginia.
(CNN) – John McCain has been struggling to win over his party’s conservative base – and 1 in 4 Virginia GOP primary voters say they’ll be somewhat or very dissatisfied if McCain is the Republican nominee.
But Hillary Clinton actually fares worse on that question than McCain: more than 1 in 3 Virginia Democratic primary voters say they will be dissatisfied if she is her party’s nominee. Barack Obama does best in this respect: fewer than 1 in 5 primary voters would be unhappy if he is the Democratic candidate this fall.
–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand
Virginia Democratic primary voters who did not identify themselves as Democrats were more likely to back Barack Obama, according to exit polls.
One out of every five Democratic primary voters were independent - and those voters chose Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton, 67 to 32 percent. Seven percent of the voters in that contest were Republican voters who decided not to vote in their own party’s primary – they chose Obama by an even larger margin, 71 to 25 percent over Clinton. Self-identified Democrats also chose Obama, 59 to 20 percent.
Roughly one out of every five voters in the GOP primary were independent as well – but those voters did not vote for the party’s likely nominee, John McCain, who had been expected to benefit from their support. Instead, independent voters backed Mike Huckabee over McCain, 43 to 34 percent, with Ron Paul pulling in 19 percent. Republicans also broke for Huckabee, but by a much narrower margin, 47 to 45 percent. Virtually no Democrats participated in the Republican contest.
– CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Conservatives make up a significantly larger portion of Virginia Republican primary voters this year than they did in 2000, a development that is helping Mike Huckabee there.
In 2000, 55 percent of Virginia GOP voters identified themselves as conservative. This year, those voters make up 66 percent of the electorate, and they are breaking for Huckabee over McCain by 23 percentage points.
McCain is drawing 32 percent of the conservative vote, a number that’s only 5 points higher than what he drew in 2000.
But McCain is beating Huckabee among moderate voters by a 3-1 margin, a proportion that is keeping the Arizona senator competitive in the state overall.
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
(CNN) – Evangelicals in Virginia are voting heavily for Mike Huckabee, a key reason the former Arkansas governor remains in a competitive race there with likely GOP nominee John McCain.
According to exit polls, evangelical voters make up more than 40 percent of the electorate and are breaking for Huckabee in the Republican primary by nearly 3 to 1 over McCain - a sign social conservatives remain hesitant to back McCain's candidacy, even as he is all but certain to win his party's nomination.
In another sign Huckabee continues to draw values voters, the Arkansas Republican is leading McCain nearly 3 to 1 among those voters who say their top priority is a president who shares their values
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
Track the Virginia Democratic primary results county-by-county by clicking here: Virginia.
(CNN) - Early exit polls indicate the African-American turnout in Virginia and Maryland is about the same as it was in the 2004 Democratic primaries.
According to early exit polls, African-Americans made up 29 percent of voters in the Virginia Democratic primary and 37 percent in the Maryland Democratic primary.
In 2004, African-Americans made up 33 percent of the Virginia Democratic electorate and 35 percent of Maryland's.
(CNN) - He's aggressively targeted John McCain ever since the Arizona senator began his meteoric rise in the polls, but conservative talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh said Tuesday he may actually be the Arizona senator's "most valuable asset."
Commenting on the mainstream media's fixation with his feelings about McCain, Limbaugh said there may be more to his criticisms than meets the eye.
"If I really wanted to torpedo McCain, I would endorse him," Limbaugh said on his radio show. "Because that would send the independents and liberals who are going to vote for him running away faster than anything."
"What people don't realize is that I am doing McCain the biggest favor that can be done for him by staying out of this," he continued. "If I endorsed him thoroughly and with passion, that would end the independents and moderates, because they so despise me and they so hate me."
Limbaugh, along with several other prominent conservative radio hosts, have long spoken out against the Arizona senator over his stances on a range of issues and his history of working with Democrats on issues such as immigration and campaign finance reform.
Limbaugh's attacks in particular got so heated that former Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole wrote the talk-show host last week defending McCain - calling him a "mainstream conservative" who supported the party on critical votes during Dole's time as the Senate Republican leader."
Limbaugh later said of the letter that McCain was "manipulating" Dole.
Yet despite the fiery rhetoric, Limbaugh on Monday suggested members of the media weren't digging deep enough into his comments.
"Couldn't it be said, if somebody wanted to…that I am secretly supporting McCain, because I secretly do want him to win, but I know full well that if I come out and endorse him, he's cooked?" Limbaugh asked. "Who may be in this whole kit and caboodle, this who shebang, the most valuable asset McCain has?"
WASHINGTON (CNN) – On the day that voters in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. went to the polls, two of the three senators who are running for president made rare visits to Capitol Hill where they cast a series of votes on a controversial bill authorizing the surveillance of suspected terrorists.
Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, and his potential rival in the general election Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, were on the senate floor for several hours and bumped into each other at one point and exchanged smiles, a hand shake and a brief “friendly” conversation, according to McCain.
Both also spent a lot of time catching up one-on-one with colleagues. For Obama, it was a chance to speak directly with Democratic senators who are also designated super delegates - those key party officials who may ultimately decide who wins the nomination.
Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, skipped that opportunity – and the votes on the warrant-less wiretap legislation – as she spent much of the day at her campaign headquarters in nearby suburban Virginia where she conducted satellite interviews with journalists in Texas and Ohio, two critical upcoming primary states.
A spokesman later said Sen. Clinton was “unable to vote” but strongly opposes the legislation which is backed by the Bush administration.
Later, McCain won a standing ovation from his colleagues at a closed-door weekly lunch of Senate Republicans. Famously superstitious, McCain knocked on the wooden podium when he stood to speak.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – It was a touch of American Idol in the East Room of the White House on Tuesday when President Bush hosted the singing group the Temptations as part of the celebration of African American history month.
Singing some of their best known songs including “Just My Imagination” and “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg”, the Temptations brought the crowd to their feet with the song “My Girl.”
The audience, which included civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis, former Secretary of Transportation William Coleman, who was part of the legal team behind the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education, and Ernest Green, one of the nine students of the “Little Rock Nine,” sang along to the famous lines of “My Girl,” and even caused some normally subdued White House staffers to tap and move along to the music. Even President Bush was moved to move along to the music.
The Temptations, who had 37 top 40 hits, came to the White House where original group member Otis Williams was one of those honored by President Bush.
– CNN White House Producer Xuan Thai