Poll: 56 percent of Democrats say billionaire politicians more likely to cater to special interests

A slight majority of Democratic voters say they think billionaires are more susceptible to special interests, according to a Hill-HarrisX poll released on Tuesday.

The poll found that 56 percent of Democratic respondents believe that billionaires are more likely to cater to special interests, while 44 percent say billionaires are better able to stand up to special interests groups like political action committees.

The results could suggest some skepticism among Democratic voters about the candidacy of the two lone billionaires seeking the party's presidential nomination — former New York City Mayor Michael BloombergMichael Rubens BloombergWhere the 2020 Democrats stand on taxes Bloomberg hits Sanders supporters in new ad Judd Gregg: Bloomberg rising MORE and philanthropist Tom SteyerTom Fahr SteyerWhere the 2020 Democrats stand on taxes Klobuchar, Steyer unable to name Mexico's president in pointed interview Sunday shows - Spotlight shines on Bloomberg, stop and frisk MORE.

Both candidates have faced criticism from some of their fellow 2020 rivals, who have accused them of trying to buy their way onto the debate stage and gain traction in the polls by pouring millions of dollars of their personal fortune into advertising campaigns. 

Overall, voters across the political spectrum in the Hill-HarrisX poll were generally split on the issue: 53 percent said billionaires would be better able to confront special interests, while 47 percent thought they would pander to them instead.

Despite their late entry into the race, Steyer and Bloomberg have already outspent the rest Democratic field. Bloomberg alone has spent $270 million across the airwaves, while Steyer has approached the $20 million mark.

So far, their massive ad campaigns appear to be paying off in the polls.

Though Steyer still hovers in the single digits in most national polling, Bloomberg hit 12 percent support in a new Morning Consult poll released on Tuesday. Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete trailed with 7 percent support. 

Businessman Andrew YangAndrew YangTrump seeks split-screen moments in early primary states More accusers come forward after Evelyn Yang breaks silence on alleged assault by OBGYN Sanders leads Biden in latest Nevada poll MORE, meanwhile, received 5 percent support and Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharJoe Biden lost his fastball — can he get it back before South Carolina? Where the 2020 Democrats stand on taxes Judd Gregg: Bloomberg rising MORE (D-Minn.) garnered 3 percent.

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenJoe Biden lost his fastball — can he get it back before South Carolina? Where the 2020 Democrats stand on taxes Bloomberg hits Sanders supporters in new ad MORE still maintained the top spot with 29 percent support followed by Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersJoe Biden lost his fastball — can he get it back before South Carolina? Where the 2020 Democrats stand on taxes Bloomberg hits Sanders supporters in new ad MORE (I-Vt.) at 23 percent and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenJoe Biden lost his fastball — can he get it back before South Carolina? Where the 2020 Democrats stand on taxes Budget hawks frustrated by 2020 politics in entitlement reform fight MORE (D-Mass.) at 14 percent.

The Hill-HarrisX survey was conducted online among 2,003 registered voters across the country between Jan. 20-22. The margin of error for the full sample is plus or minus 2.19 percentage points and the sampling error for Democratic voters is 5.2 percentage points.  

—Tess Bonn