The more stores a state has, relative to its population, the darker the state appears on the map. (These maps came from a statistics site at Columbia University.)

As expected, Arkansas (and much of the South) have the highest number of Wal-Marts per person. (Wal-Mart began in Arkansas, of course.) Washington State (and much of the West Coast) show the highest density of Starbucks. (Starbucks headquarters are in Seattle.)

Make what you will of the maps. We noticed the difference in Wal-Mart penetration between New Hampshire and Vermont. (Both states seem to have a similar number of Starbucks per person.)

West Virginia and Alabama are among the most dense states as far as Wal-Marts are concerned. But neither state seems to be big on high-priced coffee. Vermont just doesn’t like chain store operations of any stripe.

Finally, the people over at Legion looked at how all the states voted in 2004. The darker blue the circle, the higher the vote for Democrat John Kerry. The darker the red, the higher the percentage of vote for Republican George W. Bush.

Blue states don’t have many Wal-Marts (except for New Hampshire). Red states don’t have many Starbucks (except for Colorado).

What does all this mean? Maybe nothing — except that issues may have less to do with politics than where you shop and how you like your morning jolt.

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