The economy is back right? Not so much according to a majority of Americans. According to an to a new Associated Press-GfK poll, some 54 percent say the nation’s economy is poor, while 45 percent consider it good. While this is better than in July when only 41 percent called the economy good and last year when 38 percent thought it was good, there’s still a ways to go.

Women are especially pessimistic, just 4 in 10 giving the economy good marks. Men are split evenly.

Do American recognize improvements in the economy? Some 81 percent don’t think the economy has improved or think it stayed about the same over the past month. Just 17 percent identify improvement.

Are we going in the right direction? President Obama might say so, but an overwhelming majority of Americans would disagree (63 percent).

We’re also relatively split over whether we expect to see improvement: 31 percent expect the economy to get better, 32 percent expect it to get to get worse, and 34 percent expect for it to stay the same. We’re slightly more optimistic about our own financial situations remaining the same.

This polling was released just before last  week’s Republican national debate. Republicans are more likely than Democrats to say the economy has gotten worse in the last month while Democrats are more likely than Republicans to expect it to get better in the next year.

AP reports:

The candidates will aim their messages at a Republican Party that has a particularly negative view of the economy.

While 65 percent of Democrats describe the economy as good, just 29 percent of Republicans say the same. Seven in 10 Republicans say the economy is poor, including more than 8 in 10 GOP supporters of the tea party. Eight-five percent of Republicans say the country is heading in the wrong direction.

Independents, too, are unhappy with the economy, with 33 percent seeing it as good and 62 percent poor.

Independents’ view on the economy is an important measure to track. Policymakers, who are able to demonstrate that they are or will be best at getting our nation on the right path, will be successful.

While he has a little over a year left to go, President Obama seems to be experiencing a tiny bump in approval of the job he’s doing with the economy – moving from 42 percent to 46 percent. Still, more than 50 percent disapprove of his handling of the economy, and that matches his overall job disapproval rating.

For all of the efforts to push working class economics at the federal and state level, we’ve got nothing to show for it and Americans recognize this. What we need is economic growth that increases wages, which have been relatively flat, and offers fulltime work to the underemployed and the unemployed. Policies like $15 minimum wage hikes and ObamaCare mandates don’t get us there. A more free economy and fair marketplace that lessens regulations and pulls government back from the relationship between employer and worker does.