Everyone wants to make a big deal about the general election polls regardless of what they say. If they show Donald Trump doing well in some states, Trumpsters pounce. If they show Hillary Clinton winning, her fans gush. It’s May. The election is six months away and neither side has unleashed anything other than a couple of bullets. The missiles won’t come out until July. They’ll get bigger by September.
In October and November, they’ll go nuclear. That’s when we’ll need to start paying attention to the polls. In the meantime, they should be ignored. They shouldn’t even be talking points. They’re completely worthless.
The 1% portion that represents actual meaning is in whether or not there’s a strong base for both. There is. That’s the extent of their value. If Clinton was beating Trump by 30%, we might want to take a closer look. A single revelation, a bad quote, an amazing sound bite – just about anything can shift the polls by double digits.
Outside of their base, there is absolutely no passion from voters. It’s not like 2008 when both candidates had a clear line in the sand allowing most voters to pick a side or 2012 when there were less than 20% undecided after the conventions. With this election and these two candidates, you have too many Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz supporters who are both still feeling completely betrayed. Moreover, you have two presumptive nominees that have tons of enemies within their own parties.
A large portion of the American voting population is not pleased by either prospect. There are talks of third-party runs, supporting members of smaller parties, and even using the opposition vote as an option. The Vice Presidential nominees have not been selected. Polls today are about as important as the polls in October that showed Ben Carson was leading the pack.
In short, ignore everything. That’s not to say we shouldn’t be watching the candidates, their proposals, and their histories. It means that we should put absolutely zero weight on anything that has the word “poll” in it. Until they actually mean something, they’re nothing more than a distraction and a way to make people click on a story.