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Is an election lift coming for auto sales?

While auto sales have improved this year, the gains have been underwhelming to say the least. But today's election results could provide a meaningful lift to the economy and moribund auto sales, some industry observers speculate.

AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson looks for improvements in consumer sentiment and the economy after the vote. “This election is pivotal,” Jackson said last week. “Washington has gotten in the way of this economic recovery.”

He looks for Republicans to be elected to rebalance Congressional leadership. If that happens and “Washington can get out of the way of the recovery, I'm pretty optimistic,” Jackson said.

October sales results, which will be released today and tomorrow, are expected to be among the strongest of the year despite some signs of weakening during the last week. CEO Jeremy Anwyl said late last month that stock market gains and/or election promises could be helping consumer confidence.

“Good news typically feeds on good news, so hopefully the trend continues,” Anwyl said. We should see decent activity in November and December, when there are traditional sales periods that draw in shoppers.”

In Oregon, Lithia executives are looking for today's election to help business prospects in its home state. Lithia President Bryan DeBoer said last week that Oregon, with its fairly high tax rates, needs greater balance in its economy and political culture.

“And we'll see some of that,” DeBoer said. “These mid-term elections could change a little bit and help our state.”

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