There is no danger the independence referendum will distract the Scottish Government from working to boost the economy, the country's First Minister has insisted.
Alex Salmond said he believed Scots would vote in favour of leaving the UK when the ballot is held in two years' time.
But he also stressed his Scottish National Party (SNP) administration in Edinburgh was "entirely focused" on efforts to tackle the economy.
New figures showed the recession north of the border had deepened, and while unemployment across the UK fell there was an increase in the number of Scots out of work.
However, Mr Salmond argued the financial powers independence would bring were key to boosting economic performance.
"The link between constitutional change and having that economic power is absolutely fundamental," the First Minister told BBC Radio Scotland. "Which is one of the reasons why I believe we will win this referendum."
Mr Salmond told the Good Morning Scotland programme the SNP was closer than ever before to achieving independence. But a new poll published on the first day of the SNP annual conference in Perth showed fewer than a third of Scots favoured this. Research by Ipsos Mori for The Times found 30% agreed Scotland should be independent, with 58% opposed to this and 12% undecided.
It comes days after Mr Salmond and the Prime Minister signed a deal which will deliver a legally binding referendum on independence in 2014, with David Cameron pledging to campaign to keep the United Kingdom "family" together.
Mr Salmond's deputy, Nicola Sturgeon, also said she believed Scots would opt for independence when given the chance at the ballot box. The Deputy First Minister cited polling evidence which suggested almost two thirds of Scots thought the SNP administration was "better at making decisions for Scotland".
A YouGov poll, commissioned by the SNP, found 64% of those surveyed believed this, compared to 24% who thought the UK Government was better. The same poll found 45% would be likely to vote for independence in the referendum if they could be persuaded that leaving the UK would mean their family would be economically better off.