1. ITV Report

London 2012 Olympics £9 billion price tag 'worth the money'

A new poll by Guardian/ICM shows that 78% of voters believed the Olympics "did a valuable job in cheering up a country in hard times", compared with just 20% who looked back on them as "a costly and dangerous distraction".

Fireworks during the closing ceremony of London 2012 Credit: Press Association

The vote of confidence in today's poll is even stronger than opinion taken at the height of the Games. In an online survey taken immediately after so-called 'Super Saturday' - on which Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis and Greg Rutherford all took track and field gold for Team GB:

  • 55% agreed and 35% disagreed with the same proposition
  • Pollsters, who interviewed 1,002 adults, said the Paralympics may have helped to cement this majority
  • A crushing margin in favour of London 2012 was found in every social class and also in every region
Olympic track hero Mo Farah Credit: Press Association
Greg Rutherford on in action during the Men's Long Jump Credit: Press Association
Jessica Ennis waves to the crowd after victory in the Heptathlon Credit: Press Association

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.

Fast flowing River Ure at Aysgarth Falls in the Yorkshire Dales in June 2012 Credit: Press Association

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.