Residents of region bullish on Boston as city chooses next mayor, poll finds

David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

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Residents of Greater Boston identify deeply with the capital city, a resurgent urban center that suburbanites visit more frequently than a decade ago, according to a new University of Massachusetts Amherst/Boston Globe poll.

Almost 90 percent of residents in Eastern Massachusetts believe the city has improved over the past two decades, according to the poll, which surveyed a region of 3.3 million living inside Interstate 495. People said they feel safe in Boston, race relations have improved, and the city is better because Boston Harbor is cleaner; the Big Dig buried the expressway; and the development of the Seaport injected vibrancy into a once-forlorn stretch of waterfront.

The poll shows how the upcoming mayoral election will reverberate beyond the city’s 48 square miles.

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