The internet is all about arguing. We can’t get enough of it. We argue about politics. We argue about pop culture. We argue about …well, that’s mostly it, unfortunately. Politics is a subject that demands complex nuance, a finely tuned moral compass, rigorous education and compassionate empathy, so it only makes sense that we’d talk about it on the internet, which has none of those things. That’s why we need to get away from online political debates and start arguing about stuff the internet is actually good at: like an arbitrary ranking of the states in the U.S.
That’s what YouGov has done, and they’ve found a good way to do it too. They gave hundreds of respondents two randomly selected states and told them to pick which one was better. No reasons. No logic. Just pure gut feeling about which state you prefer. Then YouGov ranked all the states based on which one was picked favorably the most number of times by percentage. So it’s less of a bracket and more of a Mortal Kombat-type situation. In any case, here’s what they found.
Hmmm. OK, let’s break this down. First up, Hawaii, yes, sure. Fine. A small cluster of lush islands nestled in the sapphire waves of the Pacific Ocean has a sliiiiight edge over the lower 48, but we’ll let them have it. Then you’ve got Colorado, which is great for anyone who loves the mountains and uh, certain substances frowned upon by law enforcement in many other states. And then there’s Virginia, with both mountains and beaches, so no huge surprise there either. After that is where things start to get interesting and where we can start to have a good, old-fashioned internet argument.
There’s no real rhyme or reason to the top ten, which are literally all over the map. The Midwest and the Pacific Northwest are the only places not really presented in the elite ten, with North Carolina, Georgia and Florida in the Southeast; Texas, Arizona and Nevada in the Southwest; Virginia and New York on the East Coast; and Colorado in the Mountain States. The bottom ten is made up mostly of Southern and Midwestern states, with the exceptions being New Jersey and — dead last by a healthy margin — Washington D.C. The inclusion of the nation’s capital here is a point of argument it self, since D.C. is not officially a state although that is currently a matter of some debate. If D.C. ever does become a state, it has some PR work to do
For what it’s worth, the survey did note that respondents chose their home state when it was an option 77 percent of the time, virtually the same amount of times as they chose their current state of residence (assuming it was different than their home state). So it seems like whatever your state ranking, most Americans are pretty happy with where they’re at. That’s something nobody can argue about.
You can read more about the methodology here.