Independents will be allowed to vote with either party in Virginia's primary. That could be a boon for Obama, who has scored well among independent voters in previous open primaries.
(Obama favored in Potomac primaries, LA Times)
Obama, who has trailed Clinton in every USA TODAY poll over the past year, edged ahead by 47%-44% — within the survey's margin of error..... Among Republicans, McCain has consolidated his front-runner status, leading former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee 53%-27% among Republicans and independents who "lean" Republican.
Maryland holds a closed primary, meaning you have to vote in the party you're affiliated with. But, in Virginia, it's an open primary, meaning you can vote in either party, but not both. (WMDT)
As former governor Doug Wilder wrote in the Wall Street Journal over the weekend, "Virginia is neither a red state nor a blue state. Its citizens are too independent-minded. Having been elected first lieutenant governor and then governor some years ago as a Democrat here, I can tell you that voter support depends more on a particular candidate than it does on party affiliation." (Washington Post)
"Well, let me tell you something: I'm skinny, but I'm tough, too. I'm looking forward to mixing it up with John McCain," Obama said the day before voters in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., would have a chance to vote in the presidential primary. (US News & World Report)
NOTE: 17% of DC voters are independent; Virginia has nonpartisan registration; 16% of Maryland voters are unaffiliated.