Unfortunately, this question is perhaps the most popular and is possibly one of the worst questions you can ask in an interivew. In many cases, you will get exactly what you asked for. A one word answer - Yes!
If you're really interested in discovering the career advancement opportunities in an organization, you need to ask a series of questions that give you a good perspective of their true growth potential. Topics such as the financial success of the company (current and projected), past hiring practices, availability of training, and expectations of employees in this position, will each give you insight into the possibility of the company giving you the advancement expectations you are seeking.
Here are some questions that get you the info you want:
1) What are your sales projections for this year and next year?
2) What will this company look like in 5 years?
3) Is the company expecting to acquire new business or add a new division?
4) What is your policy on internally promoting?
5) What is your policy on internally posting positions?
6) How long have my potential new co-workers been at their levels?
7) How long have my potential new supervisors been at their levels?
8) What are the expectations of a person in this position their first year?
9) What do you expect an employee in this role to have accomplished in 3 years?
10) What type of career advancement training is available to employees?
Each of these questions give you some insight into their advancement opportunities. An organization with a track record of growth or will be adding new business units will obviously need to move people up ands around within the organization. Additionally, companies that try to promote from within and provide developmental training(rather than training that just helps you in your current role - product training, software training, etc) tend to have a culture that focuses on developing internal employees for future promotions.
So, the next time you want to learn about the growth opportunity in a perspective employer, make sure you ask the questions that give you the REAL answer!