By Steve Tawa

NEW JERSEY (CBS) – The first measure of New Jersey likely voters in the upcoming election by Quinnipiac University shows President Obama continues to lead challenger Mitt Romney.

The director of Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, Maurice Carroll, says Obama is ahead of Romney by seven-points in the blue state of New Jersey.

Carroll figures that lead could increase this week, after the Democratic National Convention.

“An event focusing on a candidate generally gives him a bit of a boost,” he said.

Right now, Obama leads Romney 51-44%. Voters in New Jersey indicate Romney would do a slightly better job than Obama on the economy (48-to-45%), but Obama does a better job on health care (52-43%), and on Medicare (51-41%).

Carroll says the big party split is on the government’s role.

“Quinnipiac asked and half of all voters, including 83% of Republicans, say government is doing too much. A bit less than half, about 70% of Democrats, say government should solve more problems.”

In another takeaway from the poll, Carroll says the votes appear to be locked in, with about nine out of ten likely voters saying they were unlikely to change their minds.

“If Obama wins New Jersey by seven points I’m sure he’ll be quite happy. That’s a solid win.”

In the meantime, Quinnipiac’s first look on this fall’s U.S. Senate race in New Jersey finds incumbent Democratic Senator Bob Menendez leading Republican challenger, state Senator Joe Kyrillos,
by ten points, 50-40%.

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