Back on August 17, the state was North Carolina, and Obama's quest was greeted in the Times with an optimistic story headlined "Obama Backers Mobilize in Bid to Wrest State From Republican Grip." The Times hasn't followed up on North Carolina, perhaps because cumulative polling data show John McCain with a nine-point lead there (the August story quoted an average lead of four points in the polls).
In an unguarded moment in Thursday's piece, Urbina throws in a dash of liberal elitism while describing Obama's Virginia supporters in flattering terms. It's a reverse echo of the Washington Post's notorious "poor, uneducated, and easy to command" 1993 insult of Virginia-based televangelists Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson's conservative followers, in a paragraph on the state's voter demographics:
Mr. McCain is expected to draw strong support from the more rural and southwest areas of the state, particularly among white working-class men, in a region that Mr. Obama lost in his otherwise resounding victory in the Feb. 12 primary, Professor Sabato said.
Support for Mr. Obama is much stronger in the northeastern section of the state, especially in places like Fairfax County, near Washington, whose population is younger, wealthier, better educated and more diverse.