A bit of good news: Americans still believe in the American Dream and tie achieving it to hard work. Karlyn Bowman and Heather Sims of the American Enterprise Institute, who have been studying the American Dream, recently posted this:

Americans have long believed that hard work enables people to get ahead, and that belief remains firm today. In a 1990 Pew poll, 63% disagreed with the statement that hard work offers little guarantee of success. In 2012, Pew’s most recent asking, the same percent gave the same response. In a similar trend question, 68% of Americans told Pew pollsters that most people who want to get ahead can make it if they’re willing to work hard. In March 2014, 65% gave that response.

But we must temper our optimism:

That said, Americans’ confidence in the opportunities their hard work will provide has suffered over the past decade. In a 2001 Gallup poll, 76% of Americans were very or somewhat satisfied with the opportunity for a person to get ahead by working hard. Twenty-two percent were dissatisfied. In 2012, 53% were satisfied and 46% dissatisfied.

Americans still believe in the value of hard work but express increasing concern that it won’t help them gain ground in their pursuit of the dream.

Hat tip: Michael Strain for pointing me to the Bowman-Sims blog.