The Pewter Institute's 2007 survey revealed on Thursday that Americans are more "appalled" and "horrified" now than they were a year ago.
The Pewter Institute measures the attitudes, moods and feelings of Americans through non-scientific evaluation and guesstimation, which it said are the core elements of new-age fact-finding.
"Our reports aren't just numbers-driven," Pewter Institute CEO Johns Murton said. "You have to hear what people say, even if they don't know what they're talking about and are prone to exaggeration. Sometimes we'll take things out of context if it's important enough, but only if we're pretty sure what a person means."
Murton said his organization has been surveying since 2001, the year it applied for a government grant as a lark, then got funded.
"We were shocked," Murton said. "But we were no different than a lot of people back then. 'Shock' was everywhere."
The Pewter report doesn't define what Americans are "appalled" or "horrified" about, just that they are.
"I like to think our researchers are good listeners," Murton said. "It really doesn't matter what the question is."
Murton said there's some data to suggest that people are "appalled" and "horrified" about the war in Iraq, the economy, crime, health care and dog vomit, or vomit not found in a proper receptacle.
"Nobody really knows, and it's not up to us to put too fine a point on it," he said. "Americans demand simplicity. We don't want to muddle things up by getting to the root cause."
The Pewter report also said more and more people "can't get their mind around" something, or are down to their "last nerve." However, people weren't as "dumbfounded" in 2007 as they were in 2006, when that reaction rose at near-unprecedented rates, second only to "deeply concerned," which gripped the nation in 2005.
Murton said more people would be "chagrined" or "disquieted," but they don't know what either word means and are loathe to use them for fear of acting "smart."
On the other side of the ledger, the Pewter Institute's survey reported that "awesome" and "amazing" had reached epidemic proportions, particularly in regard to last weekend's plans. However, many new acquaintances turned out to be significantly less "off the hook" after a second or third meeting, probably because both parties were sober again and back to the daily grind.