Here's a new kind of misery index: the rate of foreclosures across the nation. The rate is figured as the number of foreclosed homes as a percentage of total homes in a county. Media attention has been on the worst states, such as California, Florida, and Colorado. The Northwest is clustered around the middle of the misery: Idaho is 20th, Washington 21, Oregon 22, and Montana 36. A story in NewWest also looks at the trends from December to December. Oregon's filing rate went down 10 per cent, and Washington's also dropped, by 18 per cent. One curious aspect of the map is the way green and blue turn red, meaning that areas with high enviornmental concern (and probably higher real estate prices) are turning pink on the map (higher foreclosures), as are the bluest voting areas. A commenter to the NewWest story also notes that the states with the worst problems (Florida, California, New York, and Michigan) have lots of electoral votes. "There will be a solution soon in an election year," comments "bearbait." Bearbait also notes that large swaths of Western land are federal property or state forests, so they naturally have few foreclosures.