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How Green Is My Voter?

On the eve of the critical Democratic primaries in Ohio and Texas, we thought it might be time to start talking about the candidates and their (still evolving) positions on the environment and sustainability.

Nobody knows just how large the "green" voting bloc is, but with the candidates' leads "shakier than cafeteria Jell-O" (one of the many food-related "Ratherisms" uttered during past election nights by network anchorman Dan Rather), there's a general feeling that the environmentally sensitive voters are a group to be courted.

So, where does one research the greeness of the American electorate? Catalina Marketing, the targeted coupon company, went to that town square of consumption, the supermarket. First, the firm identified a green shopper as someone who made purchases from a list of products promoted as eco-friendly between April 2006 and April 2007. They used that information to answer the question: "Do green shoppers translate to green voters?"

The research did yield a few surprising results. For instance, the Democratic state of California — often seen as a healthy place to live — indexed at the average for the number of green shoppers. California’s neighbors, Oregon and Washington, both ranked well above the average.

Of the Republican states, Colorado and Alaska both ranked above average in their tendency to have green shoppers, with Alaska beating out even blue states Oregon and Washington. The top five green states most likely to have green shoppers in order are: Alaska (red), Washington (blue), Oregon (blue), Colorado (red) and Vermont (blue). The states least likely to have green shoppers, in order, are: Oklahoma (red), Alabama (red), Minnesota (blue), North Dakota (red) and Wisconsin (blue).

Catalina also crunched some numbers and found that green product sales have doubled since 2005, with an 82% increase in 2007 alone. Boy, would Hillary or Barack love to have that number posted on their returns.