Since Mitt Romney’s campaign announced the presumptive Republican nominee’s opposition to extending a tax credit for wind energy producers, there’s been no shortage of press coverage on how Romney’s position contradicts members of his own party -- particularly lawmakers from Iowa, which has the highest number of wind energy jobs in the U.S.
And given the tax credit's importance to the Hawkeye State, it’s far from surprising that a poll highlighting the importance of wind energy to Iowa voters has made its way into the debate, with proponents of the tax credit citing the survey’s findings when making the case that Romney is on the wrong side of the issue. But what is surprising is the distributor of that poll, released in a memo earlier this week: Glen Bolger, co-founder of Public Opinion Strategies, the research firm that conducted the poll, who also happens to be the pollster for pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future and part of the polling team for Karl Rove's super PAC American Crossroads.
The poll was conducted from July 17 to July 19 and released just hours before a Romney campaign spokesman in Iowa made his opposition to a short-term wind energy tax credit extension official. Still, Republican outside groups, including the two for whom Bolger currently works, have dedicated $300 million to swing state advertising this year, a large part of which includes bolstering Romney’s campaign and touting the policies he said he’d put in place if elected president.
For Bolger, it was bad timing to inadvertently release a poll that’s being employed against Romney, while serving on two pro-Romney super PACs.
The survey, commissioned by the American Wind Energy Association, has all the makings to show why Romney has it all wrong on the wind energy tax credit. According to its findings, 57 percent of voters, including 41 percent of Republicans and 59 percent of independents, would be less likely to vote for a presidential candidate who doesn't "support expanding American wind power generation,” a key point in a Wall Street Journal article examining how Romney’s opposition to the tax credit could impact his favorability in Iowa. Politico also tied the poll to Romney’s chances in the state earlier this week.
Of course, it is illegal for there to be any coordination between super PACs and campaigns.
The former Massachusetts governor has long indicated that he would phase out the wind energy tax credit, but until Monday his campaign had yet to make it clear where he stood on a short-term extension.
Restore Our Future, where Bolger currently serves as pollster, declined to comment.
Ed Conard of Mitt Romney's private equity firm Bain Capital is one of 12 donors who've given at least $1 million to the super PAC Restore Our Future, which supports Romney's bid for the White House. Due to the obliteration of campaign finance law by the Supreme Court, donors can give unlimited amounts to the super PAC. Meet Romney's dozen.
Blake Roney, Nu Skin (Personal Care Products). Gave $1 million as part of a shell corporation.
Steven Lund, Nu Skin. Gave $1 million as part of a shell corporation.
Robert Mercer, left, Renaissance Technologies (Financial)
John Paulson, Paulson & Co. (Financial)
Julian Robertson, Tiger Management (Hedge Fund)
Paul Singer, right, of Elliot Management (Hedge Fund)
Melaleuca and owner Frank VanderSloot (Personal Care)
Paul & Sandra Edgerley
Paul & Sandra Edgerley, Bain Capital
Bob Perry, Perry Homes (Home Builder)
Francis Rooney, Rooney Holdings (Financial)
Oxbow Corp. and William Koch
Oxbow Corp. and owner William Koch (Energy & Technology)