(CNN)The showdown between President Donald Trump and former FBI Director James Comey reignited this week with the publication of excerpts from Comey's forthcoming tell-all book.
More Americans believe Comey over Trump, but no one is changing their mind
While a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll shows that Comey is better liked and trusted than Trump, that public perception of the two men actually hasn't changed since last May, when Trump fired Comey.
At the heart of this lack of variation in polls over time is that the issue of Comey vs. Trump has become purely partisan, making it difficult to get people to change opinions once they're locked into their political tribe.
We can look specifically at the question of whether Americans approved of Trump's decision to fire Comey to see how each side is staying its political corner. In the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, only 11% of Democrats approve of Trump's decision to fire Comey compared with 70% of Republicans. In a Monmouth University poll last May, the numbers were nearly identical with 10% of Democrats approving of Trump's to fire Comey compared with 74% of Republicans.
That partisan split creates an overall picture today of 14 percentage points more Americans disapproving (47%) than approving (33%) of Trump's decision to fire Comey. In an average of May polls from last year, 12 percentage points more of Americans disapproved than approved of the decision to fire Comey.
The gap reflects how much Americans believe one man more than the other. The ABC/Washington Post poll taken this past week has Comey beating Trump on this score by a 48% to 32% margin. Again though, that 16-point Comey advantage is pretty much the same as the 20-point Comey edge found in a June 2017 Quinnipiac poll on who Americans trusted more.
Of course, it would be a mistake to say that Comey is actually liked. In the recent ABC News/Washington Post poll, Comey has a negative net favorability rating (favorable - unfavorable) at -2 percentage points. That's better than Trump's net favorability rating, which registered at -21 percentage points in a Gallup poll this month, although neither man is particularly popular.
It's not as if the war of words between the two men, however, is hurting either ones popularity. Comey had a -1 net favorability rating in a Quinnipiac University poll after he was fired. Trump's net favorability rating in that same poll was -20 percentage points. In other words, we had the same spread (19 points) between the two men last year as now. We also have both underwater with the American public, though with Comey less disliked than Trump.
Indeed, the story of Comey vs. Trump is the story of the Trump administration at-large.
Democrats hate Trump. Independents in the middle are more split, though are more likely to dislike than like Trump.
That's left Trump facing an American public against him. But with Republicans standing by the President in spite of a slew of bad press, the bottom hasn't fallen out of Trump's numbers.