The American Dream rests on the belief that the opportunities are there for people – regardless of race, creed, economic position, or other social identifier – to get ahead based on effort and merit. As it turns out, though, many Americans are skeptical that the American Dream even exists anymore. Just 1 in 2 adults are satisfied with the opportunity for a poor person to get ahead by working hard in this day and age, according to a USA Today/Gallup poll released in June 2012. Interestingly, there is almost no variation in this sentiment by age bracket: the most optimistic Americans, aged 35-54, are only 2% points more likely to be satisfied than the least optimistic, who are aged 55 and older (51% and 49%, respectively). Going hand-in-hand with this lack of optimism is a general skepticism about Americans’ willingness to work hard to better themselves: only 52% of adults believe Americans are willing to do so, with the 55 and older group 18% more likely than the average to be positive about Americans’ work ethics. Read the rest at MarketingCharts.