And when asked to reveal their “heroes and villains” of 2013, the public said Andy Murray – this year’s Wimbledon men’s champion – was the undisputed hero of the year.
However, fellow sportsmen Oscar Pistorius, the South African runner accused of murdering his girlfriend, and cyclist Lance Armstrong who admitted taking banned performance enhancing drugs shared the billing as top villain.
Female villains included singer Miley Cyrus who brought “twerking” to the nation’s consciousness; and Katie Hopkins, a former contestant on The Apprentice famed for her abrasive comments including remarks after Glasgow’s Clutha helicopter tragedy.
Amanda Donnolly, dubbed the Angel of Woolwich after she went to the aid of murdered soldier Lee Rigby in May, came in second place for her bravery in the heroes’ list, while the Duchess of Cambridge, who gave birth to Prince George in July, took third.
But the economic situation was not far from people’s minds when members of the public were also asked for their top New Year prediction.
More than a third (38 per cent) of respondents feared interest rates will rise in the New Year – making it the top prediction.
The second top forecast was that Scotland would vote to remain part of the UK (37 per cent), followed by fears that the country would experience a long winter of heavy snow (29 per cent).
Uprisings and riots across the UK were predicted as being on the horizon by 28 per cent of those polled.
And a total of 21 per cent, predicted that one or more countries will leave the European Union next year.
In showbusiness and sport, 13 per cent polled think The X Factor television talent show will end for good.
And many people think teenage Canadian singer Justin Bieber is on the road to ruin, with one in six (16 per cent) thinking he will either have a breakdown, get arrested or get someone pregnant.
Almost one in five (19 per cent) think England will not be crowned champions at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, instead they will be knocked out on penalties.
And 17 per cent predicted Prince Harry would walk down the aisle with girlfriend Cressida.
However, David Bell, professor of economics at the University of Stirling, said he would not give the prediction about interest rates rising his total backing.
He said: “I would put that in the 50/50 camp. I think there was another recent poll which showed that a lot of people, mostly savers, wanted interest rates to rise.
“But that is in the hands of the Bank of England, not the government. 2014 will economically be more buoyant than 2013.”
A spokesman for the Yes Scotland campaign also disputed the poll’s findings on the outcome of next year’s independence referendum.
He said: “We base our forecasts on extremely detailed and robust private research. That is why we confidently predict that 2014 will be the Year of Yes.”
James Endersby, managing director of Opinium Research, which carried out the poll, said: “This year has been one of ups and downs.
“A year of huge joy and excitement at the arrival of the royal baby, and Murray winning Wimbledon, it has also borne witness to some truly awful events which have shaken the nation.
“We look ahead to next year and what it may bring – with lots of sporting events.”
More than 2,000 adults across the UK were asked about their 2014 predictions in an online poll this month.
Andy Murray 29%
Angel of Woolwich (Amanda Donnelly) 13%
Duchess of Cambridge 13%
Malala Yousafzal 12%
Duke of Cambridge 12%
Pussy Riot 7%
Boris Johnson 6%
David Beckham 6%
Angelina Jolie 6%
The Arctic 30 5%
Oscar Pistorius 30%
Lance Armstrong 30%
Rebekah Brooks 28%
David Cameron 25%
General Assad 25%
Vladimir Putin 20%
George Osborne 20%
Andrew Coulson 14%
Russell Brand 14%
Katie Hopkins 13%