But the survey shows Americans look askance at other aspects of Trump's persona and agenda.
Just 21 percent give the incoming president high marks for "having the right temperament," while 26 percent credit him for "having high personal and ethical standards." Just 27 percent rate him highly on likability and uniting the country.
Only 21 percent call his signature proposal — a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico — a top priority for 2017. Deporting illegal immigrants and cutting business taxes are rated a top priority by just 30 percent and 34 percent, respectively.
While Trump struggles to find his footing, Obama is enjoying a softer spotlight as he prepares to leave the White House. His 56 percent job approval rating is his highest since 2009.
A 53 percent majority calls the nation better off than it was eight years ago. By 54 percent to 30 percent, Americans credit the nation's first African-American president for bringing the nation "the right kind of change" rather than "the wrong kind."
For all the controversy that swirled around Obama's two terms, 55 percent of Americans say he will go down as either "better than most" presidents or "one of the very best." That matches the 56 percent showing on that question for President Bill Clinton in January 2001. Just 20 percent said the same of President George W. Bush as he prepared to leave office at the end of 2008.
The telephone survey of 1,000 adults was conducted Jan 12-15. It carries a margin for error of 3.1 percentage points.