The Olympics occupied just over a fortnight during a year which also saw volatile weather, the Diamond Jubilee and the first double-dip recession since the 1970s.
Asked to consider all these factors together, and to reflect on 2012 as a whole, 49% of respondents said the year made Britain a better place to live.
That compares with 41% who said the opposite, suggesting a positive public take on the Olympics was helping to colour wider perceptions of the year.
The overall verdict ought to surprise voters themselves, who in last year's Guardian Christmas poll told ICM by a 60%-30% margin that they expected Britain would become a more miserable place in 2012.
More top news
Conservationists say one of the UK's most threatened butterflies has recorded its best year for a decade following 2014's warm spring.
The SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon says tonight's TV election debate shows there is a clear demand for a new style of politics across the UK.
A drug addict whose sickening attack on a disabled pensioner caused outrage around the world will be sentenced later.