The Democratic Party has emerged as the most popular choice among the public, with 45 percent approving of the job President Obama is doing, while only 21 percent said the same about Republican Mitt Romney.

That’s an improvement from just after Election Day, when Obama had been underwater at 42 percent approval and Romney was at 42, and the public had mostly grown accustomed to the GOP’s unpopularity.

But even with a slight uptick in approval, the Republican Party has yet to break through to the public as the leading force in American politics.

The public’s approval of the way Obama is handling the economy has stayed roughly the same at 54 percent, though that’s down from a high of 70 percent approval in June.

Among Republicans, only a slight plurality say they’re dissatisfied with Obama’s handling of the economy.

The percentage who say the economy is improving or getting worse has stayed essentially unchanged, at 38 percent.

That is in sharp contrast to the Republican presidential primary, where Romney and President Trump were both seen as having a negative impact on the economy and the economy’s overall health.

In this April 3, 2016, file photo, Republican presidential candidate, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks during the third and final Republican presidential debate, at the U.N. headquarters in New York.

The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll was conducted April 5-7 among a random national sample of 1,003 adults, including 1,095 Republicans, 1,025 Democrats and 1,000 independents.

The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.