Support for Scottish independence remains a "minority" preference, with people doubtful it would bring them much material benefit, according to new research.
Only 32% want to leave the UK despite five years of SNP government at Holyrood and with just two years until the expected referendum. The figure is nine points higher than in 2010 but one point lower than in 2005, the British Social Attitudes report showed.
Conflicting messages within the research suggest a much higher proportion of Scots - 43% - want Holyrood to make "all" decisions, prompting Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to describe the report as a "big boost".
The higher figure emerged in a question in which the word "independence" was not used, and where a second option on so-called devo-max - more power short of independence - is given. The report also suggests people are, on balance, relatively favourable to the concept of independence.
More people think Scotland would have a stronger voice in the world, stronger economy and better standards of living and health care under independence than those who think those areas will become worse. The exception is taxation, which most think would be worse or weaker, the research showed.
The wide-ranging document, which devotes one chapter to Scottish independence, concludes the Union has never been closer to being dissolved. "However, at present it appears that leaving the UK remains a minority preference, not least because people in Scotland are doubtful that it would bring them much material benefit," the report states.
Ms Sturgeon said: "Becoming an independent nation is the most popular constitutional option and demonstrates that the people of Scotland share our positive vision for the future of our country. The more people look at the kind of nation they want Scotland to be, the more they realise that Westminster control is holding Scotland back.
"Although we have achieved a great deal with the limited powers of the Scottish Parliament, people recognise that we can achieve so much more as an independent nation. We will have the economic levers to create new jobs, the responsibility for welfare to protect the vulnerable, and the powers to remove Trident from Scottish waters."
Scottish Conservative deputy leader Jackson Carlaw said: "A succession of polls have found that around two-thirds of Scots have no desire to break-up Britain. We are confident that, when it comes to the vote in 2014, that majority will make their feelings known on the ballot paper."
Scottish Labour constitutional spokeswoman Patricia Ferguson said: "This survey shows how successful and how popular devolution is, and how little support there is for separation. It is further proof that the SNP are increasingly out of touch with the priorities of the Scottish people. Scots are more concerned about jobs and a strong economy than they are about separating from the rest of Great Britain."