The Washington Post

The United States of question marks, in one map

Ever wonder why Illinois has a silent 's' or why Hawaii has interstates?

You're not alone. Thanks to a map courtesy of Reddit user RedLinkJ, we can see what burning questions the public wants to ask about all 50 states. Using Google's autocomplete function, the map charts the most popular "Why does [state]" for every state. Check it out below (click on the map for a link to a larger version):

Politics and government (huzzah!) are top of mind issues when it comes to Iowa ("Why does Iowa vote first?"), Nebraska ("Why does Nebraska have a unicameral legislature?"), New Hampshire ("Why does New Hampshire have the first primary?") and Washington state ("Why does Washington vote Democrat?").

(Here are the answers to the first, second and third questions, in case you're interested. We'll let the political strategists spar over the fourth one.)

People apparently have less flattering questions about Georgia, New Jersey and Delaware stinking or smelling. And they want to know why Rhode Island and West Virginia even exist.

We'll leave those inquiries to you.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.

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Show Comments
Republicans debate tonight. The South Carolina GOP primary and the Nevada Democratic caucuses are next on Feb. 20. Get caught up on the race.
The Fix asks The State's political reporter where the most important region of the state is.
He says he could talk about Charleston, which represents a little bit of everything in the state has to offer from evangelicals to libertarians, and where Ted Cruz is raising more money than anywhere else. In a twist, Marco Rubio is drawing strong financial support from more socially conservative Upstate. That said, Donald Trump is bursting all the conventional wisdom in the state. So maybe the better answer to this question is, "Wherever Trump is."
Past South Carolina GOP primary winners
South Carolina polling averages
Donald Trump leads in the first state in the South to vote, where he faces rivals Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
South Carolina polling averages
The S.C. Democratic primary is Feb. 27. Clinton has a significant lead in the state, whose primary falls one week after the party's Nevada caucuses.
62% 33%
The complicated upcoming voting schedule
Feb. 20

Democrats caucus in Nevada; Republicans hold a primary in South Carolina.

Feb. 23

Republicans caucus in Nevada.

Feb. 27

Democrats hold a primary in South Carolina.

Upcoming debates
Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

March 3: GOP debate

on Fox News, in Detroit, Mich.

Campaign 2016
Where the race stands
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