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Republican Ron DeSantis will face Democrat Andrew Gillum in Florida's race for governor. Wochit

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TALLAHASSEE – The Florida governor's race could ultimately shape up to be a battle over the intensity of base voters, as a poll released Tuesday shows voters are dead set in support for their preferred candidate nine weeks before the election.

The poll conducted days after last week's primary election showed the race is a toss-up between Democrat Andrew Gillum and Republican Ron DeSantis, with Gillum getting more support among female and black voters and DeSantis backed more by men and Hispanics.

While the closeness of the race is not surprising, the strong support of likely voters surveyed for Gillum and DeSantis early on in the campaign is. More than 90 percent of those surveyed said they do not intend to change their mind in the race, according to a Quinnipiac University poll.

Ninety-seven percent "of voters say they will vote for one of the two men, a highly unusual situation this far from the actual voting," said Peter Brown, the assistant director at the university that commissioned the poll.

DeSantis, a three-term congressman, entered the general election with the strong support of President Donald Trump and is mobilizing support among leading Republicans across the state.

Previous coverage: Trump's Ron DeSantis wins GOP; Dems pick black progressive Andrew Gillum for Florida governor's race

More: DeSantis, Gillum consider possible running mates for Florida governor's race

Gillum, Tallahassee's mayor, is drawing support from leading Democrats and progressives across the country and rallied in solidarity last week after the primary election with his primary opponents and other top Democrats.  

The Quinnipiac poll identified several voter gaps, with the black voter gap  — a key factor in Gillum's historic primary upset — the most extreme. The poll showed 93 percent of black voters surveyed favored Gillum. White voters were more likely to support DeSantis by a narrow 52-45 percent margin.

Men also favored DeSantis 52-45, while Gillum was backed 55-42 by female voters.

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While the general election results are too early to call, the candidates are working to energize their party base and court independents to win the nation's largest swing state. The poll shows independent voters surveyed were more likely to vote for Gillum than DeSantis, by a 55-42 margin. 

The sample of 785 likely voters gave a 3 percentage point advantage to Republicans, but that's not enough to overcome the poll's 4.3 percent margin of error. 

More: Andrew Gillum wins Florida primary with big margins in four counties with most black voters

More: Ron DeSantis on Fox News warns Florida not to 'monkey this up' by electing Andrew Gillum

The poll results also suggested the "Trump effect," which would help DeSantis in the general election, is small in Florida. More than half of those surveyed said Trump has no effect over their decision.

In fact, Florida likely voters surveyed gave Trump a slightly negative approval rating. 

"Polls come and go. What Ron DeSantis is focused on is moving Florida forward by building our economic success, protecting our environment and empowering parents to make the best educational decisions for their children," said Stephen Lawson, DeSantis' communications director.

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One is backed by President Donald Trump, the other has Sen. Bernie Sanders' support. Nate Chute, IndyStar

In the nascent general election race, the economy is the most important issue for voters when considering a gubernatorial candidate, the poll shows. Immigration and health care issues followed in the priority list for voters surveyed. 

Gillum's team is already touting the results of the poll as a positive sign for him.

“The Gillum campaign’s off to a great start, with Mayor Gillum raising the resources we need to win and our message resonating with voters across the political spectrum," said Geoff Burgan, Gillum's communications director.

Gillum is trying to catch up with a campaign money advantage DeSantis held after the two won their primaries. DeSantis starts with $3.4 million on hand, while Gillum had only $288,000 in cash.

But since primary election night, Gillum has raised $2.3 million through his political action committee, Forward Florida. The Democratic Governors Association's $1 million political contribution made up a big chunk of that sum, but he also received $5,000 from Democratic U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, of California, who gained national attention as a leader in the Trump resistance.

DeSantis has yet to report his latest fundraising number, but he is also likely to see a big haul of campaign donations after the primary.

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