By Tom Degun

mo-farahDecember 26 - Almost 80 per cent of the British public believe that the £9 billion ($14 billion/€11 billion) spent on the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games was value for money, according to a new poll published today.

The Guardian/ICM poll showed that 78 per cent of voters believed that London 2012 "did a valuable job in cheering up a country in hard times", compared with just 20 per cent who looked back on them as "a costly and dangerous distraction."

The latest poll shows that the vote of confidence in London 2012 is even stronger than it was during the height of the Games.

In an online ICM survey taken immediately after the Olympic "Super Saturday" where Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis and Greg Rutherford all took track and field gold for Team GB on the same evening, an identical question found support for London 2012 was running at 55 per cent with 35 per cent against.

But instead of narrowing as the London 2012 slipped into memory, that 20-point margin has widened to 58 points, with the Paralympics thought to have helped cement this majority.
Jessica EnnisResearch suggests confidence in London 2012 is even higher than after the London 2012 Olympic “Super Saturday” where heptathlete Jessica Ennis was one of the stars

A tota of 79 per cent of men say the Games were "well worth the cost" as do 77 per cent of women.

In every age bracket, more than three-quarters of people take the same view with the 80 per cent of 65 plus voters proving the biggest supporters.

London 2012 has also received UK-wide backing with 79 per cent support in the south closely matched by 80 per cent in the Midlands, 74 per cent in the north and 77 per cent in Wales.

Only the Scots are somewhat less enthusiastic although the 69 per cent still shows that an overwhelming majority support the Games.

The Olympics themselves took up little more than two weeks in a year which has also witnessed volatile weather, the Diamond Jubilee and the first double-dip recession since the 1970s.

Asked to consider positives like London 2012 and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee alongside negatives like a double-dip recession and record high wet weather, 49 per cent of respondents said the year has made Britain a better place to live against 41 per cent who said the reverse.

It suggests that the positive public take on London 2012 is colouring wider perceptions of the year.

The overall verdict comes after last year's Guardian/ICM Christmas poll showed that 60 per cent expected Britain would become a more miserable place in 2012.

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