Are they unique in this untrustworthiness though? Quite a few pollsters have Reform at improbably high levels. The question is where these votes go - in some cases the answer will be Nowhere, but those that do vote are bound to go in a variety of directions. Bearing in mind Reform's currently strongly anti-Tory stance it won't necessarily be to the Tories.
A plurality will still likely go Tory in the absence of a Reform candidate, but no it might well not be as emphatic as many have been presuming.
Btw they are maintaining that they will stand in most seats come the next GE, and money at least is unlikely to be an object there. And there is surely next to no chance of them doing a 2019-style deal with the Tories this time, even though some continue to speculate on this.
I think for close to a year now the polls have been "locked" in as follows:
Labour (low to mid 40s)
Conservative (mid to high 20s)
Lib Dems (low to mid 10s)
Green & Reform (bobbing between 5-9%)
Are these polling companies (or those who commission them) actually just wasting their money, time and effort?!
Don't think that's quite accurate. There's a number of polls putting Labour on 47/48 and almost no polls putting the Lib Dems on 15% - perhaps one maybe two?
John Curtice on the by-election special was very interesting pointing out that since 2019 the poll of poll average rating for the Lib Dems had never been more than the share they actually polled in 2019. That's a problem for them in that in 1997 when Labour were last consistently polling the sort of numbers they are now they were at least 5 points higher. Labour are currently polling roughly 4x the Lib Dem share. In 1997 it was no more than 2.5 to 3 times. The talk of the Lib Dems having a higher ceiling than Labour on these sort of figures is nonsensical - the Labour boats are rising on a comparatively much higher tide than 1997. Then Labour came from third in a small number of Lib Dem target seats like Hastings, Bristol West etc, but with the Lib Dems being weaker they will surely leapfrog them in more seats next time?
Unless the Lib Dems can start consistently polling 15%+ (with Labour slipping back a bit) then it is very unlikely the Lib Dems can get to 1997 levels of MPs and their stated aim of reestablishing their third party status at Westminster becomes much more difficult (without near total SNP collapse).