Washington, Oct 30 : Apprehending an embarrassing defeat in the Nov 4 poll, senior Republicans have planned to meet at a rural retreat in Virginia within a few days after the election, to discuss how to rebuild the party.
It is learnt that party's vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin would be a key topic of discussion at the meeting.
News of the meeting emerged as a poll in Arizona indicated that John McCain could suffer the embarrassing loss of his home state. The poll put McCain on 46 percent and Barack Obama on 44 percent, indicating the Republicans are struggling to hold on in their traditional heartlands.
Details of next week's post-election meeting, to be attended by state chairmen and prominent activists from the conservative wing of the party, are being kept secret for fear of being seen to preempt the outcome of the presidential contest.
At the meeting it would be decided as to who should take over the chairmanship of the party, and also whether the party needs to switch to the right, besides mulling over plans for the next presidential election, reported The Guardian.
Sarah Palin, John McCain's running mate, though not present, will be a central figure in discussions about the party's future, added the paper.
"It is about what direction the party takes, the proverbial struggle for the soul of the party. There will be a million post-mortems and finger-pointing. What is unusual is that the finger-pointing has begun before the campaign is ended," Norm Ornstein, an analyst at the Washington-based American Enterprise Institute, the home of the neo-conservatives, said.
One of the concerns of the Republicans is that if the polls prove accurate, the Democrats are poised to make huge advances into its traditional base in the south and in western states such as Colorado. With New York and the north-east and almost all of the West Coast primarily in Democratic hands, the question is where to rebuild their base.
The other problem is that the party is short of political "stars" in contrast with the Democrats, apart from Palin. The hunt for new potential leaders could shift to the younger generation, including figures such as Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana, said the paper.
The Virginia meeting is to go ahead whether McCain wins or loses. If he were to win, the discussion would turn to how conservatives can influence the new administration.