Although voters changed little in Washington, returning Barack Obama to the White House and leaving Congress still contentiously divided, Tuesday's election has stirred hope that the Bay Area could get a boost from the president's next four years.
With Obama's previous preoccupation -- health reform -- already passed, "now he can say, 'time to tackle the next big problems," said Russell Hancock, CEO of Joint Venture Silicon Valley.
He and others say Obama's priorities should include everything from putting more people to work and further boosting cleantech industries to shoring up the housing sector and taking other steps to reinvigorate business.
But some experts caution that Obama can only do so much, especially if Congress and global markets don't cooperate.
"The president doesn't have nearly the control over the short-run movements of the economy that we pretend," said Chris Thornberg of Beacon Economics. "All this debate between Obama and (Mitt) Romney on what they're going to do for the economy was nonsense."
Here are a few topics of particular interest to the Bay Area:
Jobs: If the administration's policies can help get more people back to work, that would give the Bay Area's economy a shot in the arm, experts say. But some worry hiring may instead falter.
"Right now Silicon Valley is feeling more effects from the global economic slowdown, which can affect tech exports," said Scott Anderson, chief economist
"We are looking at fiscal austerity in 2013," Anderson said. "That could be a negative for economic growth nationally and in the Bay Area."
Housing: So many housing and credit issues face review that the Mortgage Bankers Association has called on the president to appoint an official to coordinate housing policy in the coming months.
Among the issues is a possible cap on the mortgage interest deduction, new lending regulations, tax reform, and managing foreclosures and the short sales of underwater homes.
Any effort to cap how much homeowners can deduct on their tax returns for interest on their mortgages would surely spark controversy and fierce opposition from the housing lobby.
While Romney had proposed capping various deductions, which experts said would affect mortgage interest, Obama has expressed less enthusiasm for the idea.
"Will they limit the mortgage interest deduction or try to do away with it all together?" asked Jerry Howard, of the National Association of Home Builders. "That is a serious, serious concern."
Cleantech: Obama has pushed for alternatives energy sources to oil, promoting such technologies as solar power, electric vehicles and biofuels, which many Bay Area companies are developing. Now, some cleantech executives hope he can do more during his next four years in office.
"We're confident that under a second term for the president we'll continue to see strong support for the cleantech industry with initiatives and priorities that will further push cost-competitive clean solar energy to the mainstream," said SunPower (SPWRA) CEO Tom Werner in a statement.
But Republicans, who control the House, could hinder such an effort. Many of them have been critical of the president's alternative-energy policies, particularly in light of Solyndra, the Fremont solar-gear manufacturer that won $528 million in federal loan guarantees only to declare bankruptcy in 2011.
Consumer confidence: Getting consumers to buy more products made by Bay Area companies would go a long way to improving the economy here. Indeed, women, minorities and low-income voters who helped propel the president to a second term now may be riding a wave of confidence that could translate to higher spending, said Marshal Cohen, chief retail analyst at the NPD Group.
In exit polls, Obama had the support of 55 percent of women -- the strongest retail consumer group. Moreover, many low-income voters -- who turned out in droves for Obama -- feel more confident they won't lose federal assistance, which may translate into higher spending on food, household items and Christmas gifts, Cohen said. But such spending could hinge on how lawmakers resolve the so-called fiscal cliff, which may require tax increases and cuts to some government programs.
"That there's still a lot of uncertainty out there," said Dianne Kremer, a senior analyst BIGinsight.
Carl Guardino, CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, said he is leading a delegation of 30 local business executives and San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed to Washington later this month to meet with members of Congress about key Bay Area concerns. Those include lowering business taxes, improving education, increasing the numbers of skilled foreigners who can work in this country, preventing cybercrimes and repairing roads, electrical transmission lines and other parts of the nation's infrastructure.
But while Guardino hopes progress will be made on these issues over Obama's next term, he cautioned that it will depend on how well Republicans and Democrats cooperate.
"We need them to start getting along," he said. "We set aside differences here in Silicon Valley, and we expect the same from adults who represent us in Washington."
Staff writers Pete Carey, George Avalos and Heather Somerville contributed to this report. Contact Steve Johnson at email@example.com or 408-920-5043. Follow him at Twitter.com/steveatmercnews.