Over at fivethirtyeight.com there is a new chart showing the results of "nearest neighbor analysis" for different states that I find really interesting. What kind of state is Minnesota? A more north-western state (Washington, Oregon) with a strong midwestern Wisconsin (who is similar to Minnesota, Iowa, and Ohio) thrown in. Illinois is good one with Minnesota (NW/Central), New York (East-coast), and Ohio (midwestern industrial/rural).
The grouping here is interestingly enough based on baseball and fantasy baseball statistical analysis that pairs current players with older ones to help predict the career arc of the current one. In this case, it is to help predict larger election trends by paring similar states, but I think it also can help paint an interesting picture on the character of the states themselves. For example, unpredictable Florida (Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Arizona) is a large southern state with no southern connections. Click on the image to the left for a large version, or see the original here.