State Sen. Jim Whelan, D-Atlantic, has a large lead over his opponent, Republican Frank Balles, in the race for state Senate.

The race for the two assembly seats is closer, and the election is now two weeks away.

Whelan leads Balles, who is Atlantic County sheriff, 55 percent to 34 percent with 11 percent undecided or declined to answer, according to a poll the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey released Tuesday. Whelan has increased his lead, which was 51 percent to 39 percent, since the last poll released Sept. 11.

For the district’s two assembly seats, Republican incumbents John Amodeo, 23 percent, and Chris Brown, 21 percent, hold slight leads over Democratic challengers Vince Mazzeo, 21, and Nick Russo, 19 percent. But 15 percent remain undecided.

Voters are supportive of Republican Gov. Chris Christie, who leads Democratic challenger Barbara Buono 59 percent to 29 percent.

“Voters seem ready to split their ticket in the 2nd Legislative District,” said Daniel J. Douglas, director of the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at the college.

According to the poll, 36 percent have a favorable opinion of Balles, while 22 percent have unfavorable views, and 40 percent say they are unfamiliar with him. Only 14 percent said they were unfamiliar with Whelan — who had a 61 percent favorable rating.

The poll also found:

n Forty percent of people said an endorsement from Christie would have no impact on whom they vote for in either race. A Christie endorsement would make 29 percent more likely to vote for that candidate, while 27 percent said they would be less likely to vote for the candidate.

- Fifty-two percent believe New Jersey is headed in the right direction, while 33 percent believe it is on the wrong track, with 15 percent unsure.

- Regarding property taxes, 85 percent said they have increased “a little” or “a lot” during the past three years. Ten percent felt property taxes have either stayed the same or decreased over the past three years.

- Seventy-six percent of voters support a ballot question to increase the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $8.25 an hour as well as provide annual cost-of-living increases. 16 percent oppose the proposal.

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