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
Star Trek's Captain Kirk said he will not be able to say a final goodbye to Mr Spock because of a charity commitment in Florida.
China's wild Panda population grew by 268 or 16.8% between 2003 and 2013 according to a nationwide survey on the highly endangered mammal.
Approaching Atlantic frontal systems will give a wet and windy night right across the UK with some heavy bursts of rain for everyone.