Sure, soaring crude prices were a big reason Big Oil firms posted record profits this year. But so was the hands-off approach of the Republican Congress, which kept the industry unburdened by new regulation, and allowed it to work on exploration efforts freely.
But even with Democrats taking the House, oil stocks rose after the industry dodged the bullet of California's Proposition 87, which would have put a big tax on oil and put the money toward alternative energy.
Still, the industry's long-term prospects aren't as good, according to Fred Dickson, chief market analyst at D.A. Davidson & Co. Democrats are more likely to try to regulate the industry and renegotiate leases that are favorable to oil companies.
That could lead to curtailed earnings, and less new oil discoveries.