I haven't done any GSS analysis in a while, so here's some relatively random analysis.
The following question was asked in 1984:
USCLASS4 71. Here are different opinions about social differences in this country. Please tell me for each one whether you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree. READ EACH STATEMENT. CIRCLE ONE CODE FOR EACH. D. What one gets in life hardly depends at all on one's own efforts, but rather on the economic situation, job opportunities, union agreements, and the social services provided by the government.
Not very surprisingly, respondents with higher incomes think that one's efforts count, but people with lower incomes think that one's own efforts don't mean as much.
-N of cases
|USCLASS4||1: STRONGLY AGREE||6.6
|2: SOMEWHAT AGREE||36.1
|3: SOMEWHT DISAGREE||38.4
|4: STRNGLY DISAGREE||18.8
A lot of the questions in the GSS seem to be put there without very much thought. I don't see anything interesting about this question. Maybe I just haven't dug deep enough. But it does teach us a basic concept of human nature. People attribute successes to themselves, but failures to bad luck and forces beyond one's control.