While the latest New York Times / CBS poll was conducted to measure support for a proposed public option, rather than single-payer, the findings are significant in that Americans’ confidence in the government’s ability to manage health care has grown significantly in just the past two years.

Half of those questioned said they thought government would be better at providing medical coverage than private insurers, up from 30 percent in polls conducted in 2007. Nearly 60 percent said Washington would have more success in holding down costs, up from 47 percent.

Sixty-four percent said they thought the federal government should guarantee coverage, a figure that has stayed steady all decade.

An overwhelming 72 percent favor a government-run health plan.