Americans say Trump has also done too little to distance himself from white supremacists. And a majority are concerned that his business ties will present conflicts.
As Trump prepares to take office, 41% say they approve of the job he has done explaining his plans and policies for the future of the American people, while 55% say they disapprove of the job Trump has done.
That 41% approval rating is lower than President Barack Obama's 72% in December 2008 and President George W. Bush's 50% in January 2001 -- in the wake of a disputed election. It's also lower than President Bill Clinton's 62% in January 1993 and President George H.W. Bush's 65% in March 1989.
Views of Trump split largely along partisan lines. Eight in 10 Republicans say they approve of the job he has done, while just 15% of Democrats say the same.
Trump's Cabinet picks have also received low marks, with just 40% of Americans surveyed saying they approve compared to 51% who disapprove of his selections so far.
The poll also found Americans expect Trump to work well with Congress and effectively manage the executive branch, while he could struggle with national security and foreign policy.
Of those surveyed, 60% said they are "very" or "somewhat" confident Trump can work effectively with Congress. Another 52% said they are confident he can manage the executive branch effectively.
But just 45% say they are confident he can handle an international crisis, and 44% say they are confident he will use military force wisely and prevent major scandals.
Those marks are much lower than the previous Republican president, George W. Bush, who entered office scoring in the 70s on all of those questions.
Alongside negative approval ratings, Trump is also personally viewed unfavorably by 58% of Americans, while just 37% see him favorably.
Sixty percent say they view Trump as patriotic, and 52% see him as a strong leader. But just 41% see him as honest and inspiring, while 37% see him as well-qualified, 31% view Trump as moral and 26% see Trump as a good role model.
A majority of Americans -- 54% -- say Trump has done too little to distance himself from white nationalist groups, while 65% said they are very or somewhat concerned that his business ties conflict with the country's best interests.
There's less concern over the closeness of Trump's children to the incoming administration. Thirty-nine percent say they will have too much influence, while another 39% say they'll have about the right amount of influence.
Most Americans -- 57% of those surveyed -- say they see "a lot" of discrimination against Muslims in society today. That's higher than the 43% who see a lot of discrimination against gays and lesbians, 41% who see it against blacks, 32% who see it against Hispanics, 23% who see it against women, 15% who see it against evangelical Christians, 14% who see a lot of discrimination against whites and 13% who see it against Jews.
Vice President-elect Mike Pence's favorability rating is underwater, with 39% saying they view him favorably compared to 42% unfavorably.
But most Americans -- 54% of those surveyed -- say they believe Pence is qualified to become president if anything happens to Trump, while just 30% say he is not qualified.
Pence is most popular among white evangelical Christians: 67% view him favorably, and 78% say he is qualified to serve as president.
The survey was conducted among 1,502 adults between November 30 and December 5 with cell phone and landline surveys.