IOC poll reveals rise in support for London bid

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Concerns over levels of public support for London's 2012 Olympic bid were eased yesterday after the results of an independent poll carried out by the International Olympic Committee became public.

The secret poll is understood to show 70 per cent backing for the bid across the UK and 68 per cent in London itself, an even better outcome than London 2012's own survey which showed 68 per cent nationwide.

Anything over 66 per cent is regarded as more than adequate in IOC circles and the results are slightly better than those of Paris and Toronto when they were bidding for the 2008 Games. The London 2012 communications director, Mike Lee, refused to confirm or comment on the IOC's poll but said: "We know that public support for the bid is at a very healthy level and is growing. For us, the main focus domestically is on building our registered support and reflecting the UK's passion for sport to the international community.

"We cannot comment on the IOC's polling figures but we know the British public is definitely backing the bid."

Public support is unlikely to be a concern for Paris either - the IOC poll of the French capital's bid is understood to have shown slightly better figures than for the London bid.

Levels of public support had been a key issue for London 2012 as it is something carefully viewed by the IOC. The bid team have had a big push to drum up support and during last week's visit by the IOC evaluation commission had 100,000 new messages of support taking the total number to 700,000.

The French union, CGT, said that they will press ahead with a mass demonstration on March 10 despite it clashing with the visit of the IOC's evaluation commission to Paris.

Some trade unions had indicated a willingness to move the day of action, but a statement from the CGT said: "We are maintaining our call for a day of social action on 10 March while being delighted that in August 2012 thousands of young athletes from all over the world will meet in our capital to celebrate sports, peace, fraternity and unity.

"This national day of action for employment, salaries and the 35-hour week has been planned for a long time.

"This day was also decided in accordance with the parliamentary calendar."

The CFDT, one of France's other leading trade unions, had been open to changing the date of their planned protest to avoid a clash with the IOC's trip.

The CFDT general secretary, François Chereque, had earlier said: "If the other unions agree, I offer to postpone to a later date our demonstration which was planned on 10 March. We can change the date, it will not affect our ideas."

Chereque added, however, that if the protests are held on 10 March, the IOC visit should not be affected. "If the date is maintained, there are ways of finding an agreement to make sure we won't disturb the visit of the IOC," he said.

"We fully back the Paris bid to organise the 2012 Olympics."