So, we have some things to work on. But overall, we’re glad we live here instead of, say, Louisiana (No. 50 in the rankings). Nothing against the good people of Louisiana.
While it is best to be No. 1, in the nebulous task of comparing the states there has been an interesting development since the U.S. News rankings came out in March. An online survey of users of YouGov, an internet-based market research and data analytics firm, found that Washington was ranked as the seventh-best state — among Democrats. When Republicans were voting, we ranked 45th.
In the realm of scientific studies, the YouGov poll is akin to astrology. Voters were shown two states and asked which one was better, leaving “better” to their own definition. They picked among seven pairings, with no state being shown twice, and the good people at YouGov crunched the numbers to rank the states.
So, while we can question the methods or wonder who voted or dismiss the results, the disparity between Democrats and Republicans is interesting. Oregon, for example, ranked fourth among Democrats and 47th among Republicans.
It’s no secret our nation is divided along blue and red lines. But the discrepancy is ceaselessly distressing. And you can’t help but think it is driven in part by the incessant narrative pushed by conservative media.
A scroll through FoxNews.com provides a daily stream of headlines such as “Seattle homeless getting vaccinations and FEMA funded hotels,” and “Portland’s Democratic mayor begs public to help ‘unmask’ members of ‘self-decribed anarchist mob’”; and “Oregon small business owner slams governor’s new shutdown order: ‘Against our constitutional rights.’ ”
All those were just in the past week, and the articles fail to mention that FEMA also does things such as provide shelter for wildfire victims. Or that the mayor of Portland is technically nonpartisan (Ted Wheeler was, indeed, a Democrat as state treasurer and previously was registered as a Republican). Or that Gov. Kate Brown’s power to order shutdowns has been upheld by several courts, including the Oregon Supreme Court.
No, as long as it fits the narrative of carnage in blue states, it is worth putting in a headline. On one day last summer, when riots were at their peak, a scroll through FoxNews.com revealed 13 stories with “Seattle” in the headline. None of them, it goes without saying, were flattering.
Meanwhile, there doesn’t seem to be any mention that U.S. News & World Report has weighed “thousands of data points to measure how well states are performing for their citizens” and determined that Washington is No. 1.
Which is probably OK. We’ll just keep that as our little secret.