The Republican party can't seem to get a clear leader for its presidential nomimee selection, but Democratic President Barack Obama is having struggles of his own. Unfavorable views on Obama crept to their highest level yet in his presidency, according to the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll.

But despite the slip, the poll reveals he's still more popular than Newt Gingrich, the GOP leader at the moment after a topsy-turvy swing among several candidates in recent months.

According to the latest poll, 49 percent of Americans now have an unfavorable opinion of Obama. Some 48 percent of the poll participants view Obama favorably. It's the first time his negative number his outweighed the positive number in the measure of popularity.

Obama's favorable rating has plummeted by 31 points from his career high, 79 percent, days before he took office, wrote the news organizations in a release accompanying the poll results, announced on Wednesday.

Gingrich, called by some the latest Republican flavor of the month after he surged from single digits recently as former front-runners Rick Perry and Herman Cain experience flash-in-the-pan rises followed by fast poll drops, is more upside down in his approval rating than Obama, however.

Gingrich's unfavorable rating is about the same as Obama's, at 48 percent. But Gingrich's favorable rating is far lower, at 35 percent. Among those who see Obama favorably, 23 percent see him strongly in that way, while only 12 percent of this who see Gingrich favorably see him strongly that way.

For all the hullaballoo since Gingrich surged in support for the GOP presidential nomination, this poll, produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates, finds that his favorable rating in his own party is unchanged from late last month, at 60 percent, and he's actually grown more unpopular among independents and Democrats alike, writes Gary Langer at ABC News. The net result: No change in his favorable score, but a 6-point rise in the number of Americans who see him unfavorably.

Obama's biggest challenge is no secret. It's the economy, of course. While unemployment has improved slightly in recent months, amid other signs of slight improvement, some 74 percent showed in the poll to have an unfavorable opinion of America's economic direction, including 51 percent who rate it strongly unfavorably.