Optical linear polarization mapping and photometry of M87 is presented in B and R wavebands. The results indicate significant polarization in the galactic nucleus. Polarization in the jet in B is consistent with other recent maps obtained for this area in blue light and no significant variation with wavelength between B and R wavebands is found. The spectral index of the jet radiation is measured to be S=-1.65+-0.2 over the wavelength range observed. Comparison of the integrated B magnitude of the jet with previous independent measurements over the period 1934-80 suggests that the jet is variable and has been fading more or less uniformly by about 0.8 mag per decade between 1964 and 1980.