By  on October 3, 2012

WASHINGTON — The National Retail Federation launched a get-out-the-vote initiative and Web site on Wednesday, while the American Apparel & Footwear Association revealed results from its most recent straw poll, as the industry’s trade and lobbying organizations gear up for the final leg of the presidential race.

The outcome of the presidential and congressional elections could have a major impact on policies critical to the fashion industry, ranging from trade and job growth to taxes and health care.

One snapshot of the state of the presidential race was unveiled by Kevin Burke, president and chief executive officer of the American Apparel & Footwear Association on Tuesday at the WWD Global Sourcing Summit in New York. Burke said the AAFA surveyed 125 of its members two weeks ago on which candidate would get their vote. The outcome showed 52 percent said they would vote for President Obama and 42 percent said they would vote for Republican challenger Mitt Romney. Six percent said they would vote “other.”

That was a significant shift from a straw poll of 150 industry chief executive officers that the AAFA took at its executive summit in March in which 43 percent said they would vote for Romney and 30 percent said they would vote for Obama. There were still other GOP contenders in the race at the time and 27 percent said they would vote for another candidate. An AAFA spokesman said that about 40 percent of the AAFA’s membership is headquartered in New York, while 35 percent is based in battleground states.

Meanwhile, the NRF hopes to educate voters about the candidates’ positions and how they could effect their businesses. David French, senior vice president for government relations at the NRF, said the Web site,, is a nonpartisan portal intended to bring light to the policy issues critical to retailers and to the 42 million Americans that are directly or indirectly employed in the industry or in companies supporting it. It will compare the positions of the presidential and senate candidates and also highlight the retail industry’s top policy priorities.

The Web site will have several features, including an area highlighting six key issues — corporate tax reform, sales tax fairness on the Internet, implementation of the health care law, labor regulations, credit card swipe fees and trade — and comparing the positions of Obama and Romney, based on public information. It will also feature pages on where Senate candidates stand on those six issues in 33 Senate races.

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