Richard Wiens, The Triplicate

If you needed another reminder that Del Norte leans right politically, even if we do have about the same number of registered Democrats as Republicans, the LifeStyles Research Co. poll released over the weekend does the trick.

Even though slightly more Democrats were included in the survey of 240 likely voters, 53.8 percent said they would vote for the GOP's Meg Whitman for governor, while only 37.2 percent supported Democrat Jerry Brown. The gap is even wider for lieutenant governor, with Republican Abel Maldonado leading Democrat Gavin Newsom 50.4 percent to 28.5 percent.

The fact is, we may bethe second-most conservative coastal county in California after Orange. We even went for McCain in the Obama landslide of '08.

Speaking of polls, in honor of a new school year beginning, here are the results of some recent school-related questions in The Daily Triplicate's online survey. Unlike LifeStyles Research, we make no claim of offering scientific samplings.

andbull; Grading to the test: Is it proper for Del Norte High to retroactively raise students' semester grades if they perform at proficient or advanced levels on state standardized tests? Well, it's common, but that doesn't make it popular with respondents, 469 of whom said "no" compared to 163 who said yes.

andbull; All in this together: There's controversy in Klamath over a proposal to have teenagers on the same school site as younger children. More than three-quarters of respondents, 428, said high school students should be kept separate from younger students, while 139 said it's okay to have students of all ages at the same location.

andbull; Friday night lights: The current poll question asks if respondents have ever been to a Del Norte High School football game. As of Tuesday morning, 177 said "yes" and 95 said "no." Those in the minority can change their ways as soon as this Friday night when Del Norte plays its home opener at Whalen Field. After all, our support of the Warriors is one of the few things that most Del Norters can agree on these days.

You can see the responses to all of The Triplicate's online polls by going to the current question on the home page at, clicking on "Results," then clicking on "Select Poll." Recent questions have included whether we should limit the number of dogs and cats in residences and whether the Lacy defendants can get a fair trial in Del Norte County.

Finally, here are the results of a one-person poll in answer to this question: Having just done so, would you ever purchase a new car in Oregon again? The answer is "no" or at least leaning toward "no."

First of all, I'm a firm believer in buying local, but the vehicle Laura and I wanted was not to be found in Del Norte. It was, in fact, in Grants Pass.

Of course we never considered the illegal option of registering this set of wheels to an Oregon address and avoiding the Golden State sales tax of more than $2,000. We played by the rules, and they say no good deed goes unpunished.

We needed a temporary Oregon registration to drive off the lot. Back home, we had to go to the local DMV for a temporary California registration. Then we had to wait for Oregon to send us an official-looking registration card saying we were not registered there. Then we could go back to the local DMV office and seal the deal.

But here's the clincher: Before the car could be registered in California, it had to pass a smog test.

These tests are no longer required for all those smoke-belchers you see cruising the coast. But bring in a brand-new car from out of state and you have to shell out $68 for a smog test. At least we were able to buy local for that.