Well, the high ratings probably are in part due to his celebrity status. You'll have people that would not normally tune into a presidential primary debate going there just to see what Trump will say. The resonance within the GOP voters, however, is not due to that. That's entirely due to his message. Everyone is sick of the establishment, there's no question of that, and Trump certainly says it like it is and resonates. He resonates with me because, well, a lobbyist can't really buy a guy already worth billions of dollars.
What should scare the Democrats with Trump are the polls that look at crossovers. Trump is getting unusually high marks in potential cross over democrats, the black vote, the Hispanic vote, etc. That makes him a true wildcard that could win the general election simply because the equation is very different from any previous election. Look at how wrong the pundits have been with Trump since June, they haven't called anything right. They predicted implosion and god knows what, but none of that happened. That means they can't predict the general election either.
Trump gets high ratings entirely because of his celebrity status, because the decision makers at the cable "news" networks and publications chose ratings over serious news coverage and investigative reporting. Trump's speeches get unprecedented live coverage, which results in a disproportionate amount of free airtime that is grossly unfair to every other candidate, regardless of party.
The major media has also glossed over the fact that even though he's rich, he's not nearly the success he claims to be. He likes to dismiss his business bankruptcies as shrewd business moves, but in reality they cost him a great deal because he unwisely personally guaranteed some business loans. As a result, his equity positions in the companies was greatly reduced, his executive power was mostly neutered and reduced to figurehead status, and he was forced to sell the huge yacht he'd just bought from the Sultan of Bahrain to raise cash for his creditors. Maybe he can shrug it off now, but at the time it had to sting a lttle.
He's also getting a huge pass on his fraudulent Trump University, which was essentially a sales scam that employed bait and switch tactics and paid bonuses to the "instructors" for every
student they persuaded to pay more for the advanced courses that would teach them the real secrets to riches that weren't revealed to the cheap chumps who settled for the introductory course. A lot of people may be surprised to know that the business practices of "Trump U." are the subject of ongoing legal actions, and things could get interesting for Trump when the verdicts are reached.
Even though I've thought he was a tasteless, narcissistic, blowhard dick since back in the early eighties when he was married to his first Eastern European trophy wife and erupted onto the pop culture scene as The Donald, master of The Deal, I don't completely disagree with him. However, I've also been hearing sensible ideas for making America great again from people on the next bar stool for many years, but just because they're occasionally right doesn't mean they're presidential timber.