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 BloombergBiden cannot allow his domestic fumbles to transfer to the world stage Jovanni Ortiz in talks for potential Harris job The economic challenges facing Jerome Powell and Joe Biden MORE and philanthropist Tom SteyerTom SteyerYouth voting organization launches M registration effort in key battlegrounds Overnight Energy: 'Eye of fire,' Exxon lobbyist's comments fuel renewed attacks on oil industry | Celebrities push Biden to oppose controversial Minnesota pipeline | More than 75 companies ask Congress to pass clean electricity standard Celebrities push Biden to oppose controversial Minnesota pipeline 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 YangAmerican elections are getting less predictable; there's a reason for that Poll: Harris, Michelle Obama lead for 2024 if Biden doesn't run At 28 percent approval, say goodbye to Kamala Harris being Plan B to an aging Biden MORE, meanwhile, received 5 percent support and Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharGOP Sen. Braun says abortion laws should be left up to states Klobuchar says 'best way' to protect abortion rights is to codify Roe v. Wade into law Sunday shows preview: Multiple states detect cases of the omicron variant MORE (D-Minn.) garnered 3 percent.

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenChina eyes military base on Africa's Atlantic coast: report Biden orders flags be flown at half-staff through Dec. 9 to honor Dole Biden heading to Kansas City to promote infrastructure package MORE still maintained the top spot with 29 percent support followed by Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWTO faces renewed scrutiny amid omicron threat Overnight Health Care — Presented by March of Dimes — Abortion access for 65M women at stake Hospitals in underserved communities face huge cuts in reckless 'Build Back Better' plan MORE (I-Vt.) at 23 percent and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren calls on big banks to follow Capital One in ditching overdraft fees Crypto firm top executives to testify before Congress Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker won't seek reelection 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