These billionaires' votes count more than yours

Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of News Corporation.
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Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of News Corporation.

Chances are, you're not going to bump into Rupert Murdoch standing in line Tuesday waiting to vote at your local middle school.

But the election impact felt by the News Corp. magnate, along with dozens of other politically influential billionaires is going to be a lot bigger than everyone standing in line behind you. And in front of you. Along with the lines at dozens of other polling places in your hometown.

To get a better idea of whose vote counts much more than yours does, Darrell West, head of governance studies at the Brookings Institution, has come up with a Billionaires Political Power Index.

The ranking is based on a number of factors that help a handful of the wealthiest voters convert their personal riches into political influence. In addition to accounting for campaign spending, the index tracks politically active nonprofit organizations and foundations, media ownership and other behind-the-scenes levers of influence.

Topping the list are Charles and David Koch, who have funneled hundreds of millions of dollars in profits from their family fortune into the 2014 campaign. Their network of PACs, foundations and other nonprofits have backed both individual Republican candidates and wider causes that include lobbying against universal health care and climate change legislation.

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Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has spent a piece of his media fortune promoting gun control and taxes on sugary drinks, ranks second on West's list.

Hedge fund manager Tom Steyer, who has spent big to raise awareness of climate change, comes in third. Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who backed several GOP candidates, and Murdoch, included for his ownership of conservative media outlets more than dollar contributions, round out the top five.

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Like any exclusive club, the membership list changes over time. Based on changes in spending patterns and other political work in the midterm election cycle, venture capitalist Peter Thiel, hedge fund manager Robert Mercer, TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts, Paul Singer, Jim Simons and Hollywood producer David Geffen have moved up the list.

Others have seen their rankings drop, including investment guru Warren Buffett, real estate impresario Donald Trump and Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton.

By CNBC's John Schoen.