Many experts will acknowledge that reading polls is tricky — in December, Five Thirty Eight warned that "a year out, ignore general election polls" because they are "only…weakly predictive of the eventual result." In June, The New York Times also cautioned that, "Election polling is in near crisis" due to "the growth of cellphones and the decline in people willing to answer surveys."
But don't tell that to Donald Trump, who appears eager to bring up his lead every chance he gets — even when it means quoting unscientific polls to prove his point. "Strategically, [Trump's high poll numbers] made his candidacy look as if it were feasible to primary voters," one unnamed Trump insider told Politico. The same person likened poll numbers to TV ratings.
"He is given a big assist by the media when it persists in focusing on the 'horse race' in [a] way that overstates its importance, such as talking about who is in third versus fourth place, even though the polling error suggests there may be no discernible difference between the two," Monmouth University polling director Patrick Murray said.