President Trump in Wilmington, North Carolina, on Sept. 2. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Half of likely voters surveyed in a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday said that having President Trump in the White House makes them feel less safe.

Why it matters: Trump has campaigned on the promise of  "law and order" by telling voters they "won't be safe in Joe Biden's America."

The big picture: The first batch of national polls released after the Republican and Democratic conventions show the former vice president keeping his national lead.

Remember: Four years after Trump defied expectations set by pollsters and news organizations, the public should have even less confidence that public opinion data can accurately pinpoint a winner, Axios' Sara Kehaulani Goo and David Nather report.

What they're saying: "While the president has been pushing the issue of safety to the center of the presidential campaign, it raises the question: Who most has your back, the current administration or the challengers?" Quinnipiac analyst Tim Malloy noted in a press release.

  • "As racial strife, a seemingly endless pandemic, and an economy on life support unnerve Americans, voters foresee a more reliable lifeline in the Biden Harris ticket."

The bottom line: Wednesday's Quinnipiac poll found that likely voters believe Biden would do a better job than Trump at handling racial inequality, the country's coronavirus response, health care and a crisis in general.

Methodology: 1,081 self-identified likely voters were surveyed over landlines and cellphones from Aug. 28-31, with a margin of error of ± 3.8 percentage points, in Quinnipiac's poll. The adult sample is weighted to recent Census data to match the demographic makeup of the U.S. population.

Go deeper

Poll: Jaime Harrison tied with Lindsey Graham in South Carolina

Photos: Nathan Ouellette/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images; Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is tied 48%-48% with Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison in the South Carolina Senate race, according to a Quinnipiac poll out Wednesday.

Why it matters: The race could be pivotal in deciding which party controls the Senate. Harrison was once thought to be a long shot against Graham, who won his last Senate race by a 10-point margin.

What to watch in tonight's debate

Joe Biden (left) and President Trump (right) are facing off in Cleveland for the first presidential debate. Photos: Alex Wong (of Biden) and David Hume Kennerly (of Trump)/Getty Images

President Trump will try to break Joe Biden's composure by going after his son Hunter and other family members in tonight's first presidential debate — a campaign source tells Axios "nothing will be off the table" — while Biden plans to stick to the economy, coronavirus and new revelations about how Trump avoided paying taxes.

Driving the news: Biden and Trump are set to debate at 9pm ET at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, and it will be moderated by Fox News' Chris Wallace.

The top Republicans who aren't voting for Trump in 2020

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Former Montana Gov. Marc Racicot said on Tuesday he would vote for Joe Biden over Trump, citing the Democratic nominee's character.

Why it matters: Racicot, who once served as the chair of the Republican National Committee, joins other prominent Republicans who have publicly said they will either not vote for Trump's re-election this November or will back Biden.