A new Gallup poll shows North Dakotans to be, on average, the most satisfied folks in the U.S., followed by South Dakotans and Alaskans. The states with lowest average satisfaction are Michigan, Rhode Island, and Nevada. It hasn't taken long for the theories--as well as jokes and stereotypes--to surface.

  • Disparaging the Dakotas   "Apparently," tweets progressive blogger Matt Yglesias, "the key to life satisfaction is to move someplace very cold and boring." Not content to leave it at this, he adds: "Alternatively, only easy-to-satisfy people stay in North Dakota."
  • 'Fascinating,' comments another D.C.-based blogger, The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza.
  • Not Surprising, Actually, says Rob at SayAnythingBlog, "given the amount of wealth and prosperity the oil boom has created in the state." It was ranked fifth in 2008, and is now at first. Nevada being last doesn't surprise him either: "they've got Harry Reid for a Senator."
  • Ditto That--Blame Politicians  The conservative National Review's Jim Geraghty credits Gov. John Hoeven (a Republican) partly for North Dakotans' happiness. Though he says it's possible Republican Gov. Jim Gibbons might therefore be to blame for Nevadans' dissatisfaction, he thinks the more likely culprit is the state's "senior senator," i.e. the Democrat Harry Reid.