Since my last post was long and complicated, I thought I should follow with something short and simple. In 1987, the Roper Organization asked "Thinking about the way your own life has turned out so far, would you say it has been primarily a matter of luck or fate, or has it been more a matter of factors which are within your control?" The same question was asked in CBS News polls in 1996 and 2016. The results
Luck Your Control Both DK
1986 22% 66% 9% 3%
1996 18% 72% 6% 4%
2016 27% 60% 9% 4%
The differences in the relative frequencies of luck and own control are statistically significant. It seems possible that opinions on this are affected by economic conditions--when people experience bad things like unemployment or reduced income, they are likely to say it's luck. However, as I recall economic conditions in 1986 and 1996 were roughly like they were in 2016--pretty good but not outstanding.
[Data from the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research]