“I’d say it’s a pretty good trend for Republicans and independent conservatives doing well, so we’re very bullish about this - this is a much better year,” Mr. McDonnell said. “The reaction to the big government entitlement society created by this president is significant in Virginia. That’s why I think you see so many independents - the reasons they voted for me are the reasons they’re going to vote for George Allen this year.”
Still, while scores of elected officials lined up behind one of the Republican candidates for the primary, Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, considered by many to be conservatives’ current standard-bearer in the state, declined to offer an endorsement.
“We are going to be very active in supporting our nominees in 2012,” Noah Wall, Mr. Cuccinelli’s political director, wrote in an email. “We intend on taking all reasonable steps to make sure Virginia elects a Republican US Senator and President this November.”
Mr. Wall also stressed that Mr. Cuccinelli’s team has been working with the party for months to help its efforts and plans to continue doing so as the fall elections approach.
If Mr. Allen defeats the other GOP contenders Tuesday, the margin of victory could be important with regard to turnout.
In Virginia’s March presidential primary, Mr. Romney could not crack the 60 percent threshold in a head-to-head matchup with Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, who averaged only about 10 percent in the previous six primaries. Then-contenders former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania failed to qualify for the ballot, and turnout dropped dramatically compared with four years ago. Just more than 269,000 people voted in the March primary, down from the nearly 490,000 who voted in 2008 when Sen. John McCain of Arizona won with 50 percent of the vote.
Though Mr. Romney has picked up significant momentum since clinching the nomination, the numbers at the time pointed to his seeming inability to win over conservatives and unify the party around his candidacy.
Mr. Farnsworth, though, said Tuesday’s margin wouldn’t matter come November. He pointed to disaffected Hillary Rodham Clinton supporters who backed Mr. Obama in 2008 and the current coalescing of Republican support around Mr. Romney.
“I don’t think too many Republicans, even if they preferred another candidate in the primary, are going to abandon the Republicans in November,” he said.
Polls are open Tuesday from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. There is no official party registration in Virginia, so any qualified voter can cast a ballot. Voters without identification can sign an affidavit to cast their ballot as the new state law requiring Virginians to bring identification to the polls doesn’t kick in until July 1.