CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- When it comes to national elections and national sports franchises, Ohio is a state that has trouble deciding whether it's red or blue.
The Buckeye State, which hosts both the Cincinnati Reds and the Columbus Blue Jackets, has become a key swing state due to its evenly divided red and blue political loyalties.
But when it comes to conversational business language, our neighbors to the north are decidedly blue, according to a recently released study that ranked Ohio as the state with the most per-capita potty mouths.
An analysis was made of more than 600,000 phone calls placed by consumers to cable companies, auto dealerships, pest control firms and 27 other businesses across the nation by the Marchex Institute -- the research arm of a large mobile phone marketing firm. Cusswords ranging from A to F to S were scanned and tabulated, and then linked to the frequency of those words in all 50 states.
Ohio led the nation in foul phone phraseology, followed by Maryland, New Jersey, Louisiana and Illinois. The states in which people are least likely to curse, according to the survey, are Washington, Massachusetts, Arizona, Texas and Virginia.
Ohioans curse at nearly twice the rate that Washingtonians do, according to the survey, peppering their conversations with expletives in one out of every 150 conversations. Perhaps the high fiber content of Washington's most famous crop, apples, makes the people in that corner of the Pacific Northwest more, uh, regular in avoiding profanity.
The Marchex Institute survey also determined that the longer the call, the likelier that cursing will occur -- not surprising since the survey sample involved calls to cable companies and car dealerships. Calls lasting 10 minutes or longer are the most likely to produce obscenities. No breakdown was given for calls involving extensive option menus, or conversations with tech support personnel from different hemispheres.
The survey also determined that men account for 66 percent of the cursing identified in the study. What B.S.!
The folks at the Marchex Institute also compiled state-by-state data on phone courtesy based on who says 'please' and 'thank-you' the most. The South ruled in this category, with South Carolinians exhibiting the most unctuous phone manners, followed by North Carolina, Maryland, Louisiana and Georgia.
Oh, yes. Ohio was ranked in the bottom five in this category as well.
According to a color-coded map that accompanied the Marchex report, West Virginia was among 16 states in the survey's curse-friendly "Sailor" category for salty language, but was not deemed statistically vulgar enough to join Ohio on the Top Five Foul-mouth list.
But we've placed at the bottom of the charts of countless other surveys, including obesity and tobacco use.
Maybe we couldn't get our biscuits and cigarettes out of our mouths fast enough for the scanning gear to scan our curses.