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Polls find support for Olympics bid still lagging

Statewide support for Boston’s Olympic bid has ticked up slightly since the organizers released a revised proposal last month, but most voters in Massachusetts and in Greater Boston still oppose bringing the 2024 Summer Games to the city, according to a poll released Friday.

The WBUR poll indicated that 42 percent of voters statewide back the bid and 50 percent oppose it, a slight improvement for Boston 2024 from last month, when 39 percent supported it and 49 percent opposed it.

In Greater Boston, 40 percent back the bid while 53 percent oppose it, which is virtually unchanged from the last survey of area residents in April, when 40 percent supported the bid and 50 percent opposed it.

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Another poll, commissioned by Massachusetts Citizens for Jobs and released last week, found that 53 percent of Massachusetts voters do not want Boston to bid on the 2024 Summer Olympics, while 37 percent support the plan.

Overall, the polls suggest that Boston 2024 has much more work to do if it is to regain solid public backing for its bid by September, when the US Olympic Committee must formally nominate its candidate for the International Olympic Committee’s host-city competition.

At the USOC’s board meeting last month, chairman Larry Probst said he was pleased by the changes Boston 2024 had made to its bid but wanted to see the poll numbers improve, “the sooner, the better.”

Probst said he would like support to climb to 50 percent “relatively soon,” and into the mid-60s before the International Olympic Committee chooses the 2024 host city, in about two years.

Erin Murphy, chief operating officer of Boston 2024, said the WBUR survey shows the bid is gaining traction.

“These poll results show support is growing as more people see our ‘Bid 2.0’ plans, which rely entirely on private financing for Olympic venues and operations and include substantial safeguards to make sure taxpayer dollars are not put at risk,” she said in a statement.

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“We are confident the numbers will continue to trend upward as more residents take a closer look at our plans to bring the Games back to the United States.”

The WBUR poll also pointed to possible reasons why residents might be dissatisfied with Boston 2024’s bid.

The public radio station’s survey found that, among Boston-area voters, 60 percent oppose and 31 percent support a proposal by Boston 2024 to provide tax breaks to developers to help finance the construction of an Olympic stadium at a site in South Boston.

Among that same group of voters, 64 percent oppose and 33 percent support providing traffic lanes for the exclusive use of athletes, VIPs, and the news media, a common practice at past Olympic Games.

The poll showed the turbulent Olympic bid appears not to be hurting Mayor Martin J. Walsh, an enthusiastic supporter of the effort. About 73 percent of Boston voters said they have a favorable view of the mayor, up from 65 percent in April.

Governor Charlie Baker, who has remained neutral on the Olympic bid, was viewed favorably by 64 percent of voters statewide, down from 69 percent in June.

Baker received high marks for his handling of another issue, the MBTA. About 60 percent of Boston-area voters said they approve and 22 percent said they disapprove of the way he has responded to troubles at the transit agency.

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Boston-area voters were less supportive of the Legislature’s handling of the T, with 25 percent saying they approve and 47 percent said they oppose the way lawmakers have approached the issues.

The MassINC Polling Group conducted this week’s survey for WBUR from Monday to Wednesday, a week after Boston 2024 released its revised proposal, dubbed “Bid 2.0.” The statewide survey of 500 Massachusetts voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.


Michael Levenson can be reached at mlevenson@ globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @mlevenson.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly listed the percentages of support and acquisition in the Friday WBUR poll.