(CNN) – If Mitt Romney is looking for an advantage in New Jersey, picking the state's governor Chris Christie as his running mate may help, though a new poll suggests it wouldn't be enough to create a winning Republican ticket.
The Quinnipiac University survey released Thursday shows President Barack Obama's nine-point lead over Romney shrinking to seven points when Christie is added to the mix as the GOP vice presidential candidate. Without the well known governor on the ticket, Obama bests Romney 49% to 40%, compared to a 49% to 42% gap with Christie as the running mate.
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New Jersey, which is considered a solidly Democratic state in presidential general elections, last went for a Republican presidential candidate in 1988. In 2008 Obama won the state with 57% of the vote.
"It's pretty much all over but the shouting in the Republican presidential primaries, but if Gov. Mitt Romney owns New Jersey in June, President Barack Obama takes command in November. This still looks like a reliably blue state," Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said in a statement accompanying the poll's release.
"Gov. Christopher Christie on the GOP ticket as vice-presidential candidate barely trims the Democratic edge," Carroll continued.
The first-term governor has received consistently high approval ratings form his constituents, capturing a 59% rating in a poll released Wednesday.
However a gender gap – also seen in several national polls – exists between Romney and Obama in the Garden State, with or without Christie on the ticket. Romney-Christie edges Obama-Joe Biden among men 50% to 42%, while the Democratic ticket is ahead among women 55% to 35%.
The state's Democratic senator Robert Menendez, who faces re-election in November, had an approval rating of 45%, compared to 31% who disapproved of the job he was doing. Matched against his Republican competitor Joseph Kyrillos, a state senator, Menendez came out ahead, 44% to 35%.
The Quinnipiac University poll surveyed 1,607 registered voters via telephone between April 3 and April 9. The sampling error was plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.