(CNN) – With less than six months until primary day in California, a new poll indicates GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman leads her Republican rivals, but slightly trails probable Democratic candidate Jerry Brown.
The Public Policy Institute of California survey, released late Thursday night, also suggests that most people in the Golden State are not paying much attention to campaign politics, with only 10 percent of likely voters watching the governors race "very closely" right now.
According to the poll, 32 percent of likely Republican primary voters are backing Whitman, the former eBay CEO, a billionaire with national party connections, and an adviser and surrogate last year for John McCain's presidential campaign. The survey indicates that former Rep. Tom Campbell is 20 points back at 12 percent, with 8 percent supporting State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner. But more than 4 out of ten are undecided.
In a hypothetical general election matchup, the poll indicates Brown, the state's sitting attorney general and former two-term governor from 1975 to 1983, has a 6 point lead over Whitman. Brown, who has yet to declare his candidacy for governor, leads Campbell by 12 and Poizner by 16 points in possible matchups next year. About one in five voters are undecided in the general election matchups.
California's current governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, is term limited and prevented from running for re-election next year. According to the survey, Schwarzenegger's approval rating as governor has hit a new low: 27 percent. But that's 10 points higher than the approval rating for the State Legislature, which matches their all time low of 17 percent back in July.
The survey suggests California voters continue to be extremely frustrated over the state's budget, which is projected to be nearly $21 billion in the red over the next year and a half.
The Public Policy of California poll was conducted December 1-8, with 2,004 adult state residents questioned by telephone. The survey has a sampling error of 3 percentage points for all likely voters and 5 percentage points for likely Republican primary voters.
– CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report
Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn