(CNN) - Meg Whitman has a slight lead over Jerry Brown in this year's battle for California governor, according to a new survey.
A Public Policy Institute of California poll released Thursday indicates that Whitman leads Brown 44 to 39 percent in a hypothetical general election matchup, with 17 percent of Californians likely to vote in November's election undecided.
Whitman's 5-point advantage is just outside of the survey's sampling error. Brown held a 5-point lead in PPI's last poll, conducted in January.
Whitman is the billionaire former CEO of eBay, who also served as an adviser and surrogate in 2008 for Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign. Brown is California's attorney general and former two-term governor from 1975-1983.
A Field Poll of likely California voters released last week indicates that Whitman leads Brown 46 to 43 percent in a possible November showdown. Whitman's 3-point advantage is within the survey's sampling error. Brown led Whitman by 10 points in a Field Poll from January.
Brown is facing no serious opposition for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. Whitman is battling state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner in the June Republican primary. The PPI poll indicates Whitman leads Poizner 61 to 11 percent among likely GOP voters, with one in four undecided. Whitman's lead is up from 20 points in January.
California's current governor, Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger, is term limited. The poll indicates that less than one in four Californians approve of the job Schwarzenegger's doing as governor.
The Public Policy Institute of California poll was conducted March 9-16, with 1,102 likely California voters questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.
–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this story
Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn