Republican gubernatorial underdog Steve Poizner has released an internal poll showing him trailing former eBay CEO Meg Whitman by a mere 10 points, 38-28.

Public polling has shown Whitman leading by 40 points or more pretty much the whole way. But Whitman's strategist, Mike Murphy, did not dispute that Poizner is closing the gap amid a barrage of negative ads from both sides.

While not releasing his own internal polling, Murphy told Calbuzz that Whitman's lead remains “a double digit number.” (There's room for agreement: 10 is a double-digit number.)

Poizner's poll also shows both candidates are viewed unfavorably among likely Republican primary voters: Whitman's favorable-to-unfavorable rating is at 24/49, while Poizner is at 30/39.

Take that with a big grain of salt until it's confirmed by a public poll. But Stuart Stevens, Poizner's strategist, argues that this shows Whitman made a strategic error by going negative so soon, when she held a massive lead and could have run more positive ads.

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