It's been said that Michael Jackson is more popular dead than alive. Now it's been demonstrated that it'd be virtually impossible for the entertainer to be less popular dead than he was alive.
According to Q Scores, the company that polls the public on celebrities' likability, along with their recognizability, Jackson was rating just a 9 on the favorable scale in the most recent survey before his June 25 death.
"On the scale of 0-100, 9 is pretty low," Henry Schafer, executive vice president of Marketing Evaluations, which runs Q Scores, told E! News today.
Jackson's negative Q Score, meanwhile, was 67—an "extremely high" number, per Schafer, that put the entertainer up, or down, there with polarizing figures such as Don Imus, Rosie O'Donnell and the Kobe Bryant of 2003-2004, circa his (ultimately dismissed) sexual-assault charge.
The good news for Jackson's estate, if not his legacy, is that death definitely does become stars.
Per Q Scores, Elvis Presley's favorable rating jumped 36 percent after his 1977 death, while his unfavorable rating fell 50 percent. Johnny Cash's favorable number zoomed 74 percent after his 2003 passing; his unfavorable dropped 50 percent.
Schafer predicted that in the next Dead Q survey Jackson's positive rating would double from 9 to 18, an average score for a celebrity, and nowhere near Presley's 34, but still "a really significant jump," according to the exec.
Similarly, Schafer predicted Jackson's negative rating would drop a "very significant" 25-30 percent.
That next Dead Q poll, by the way, isn't due to be conducted until late September—a time lag that suits the market-research firm just fine and, according to the market-research firm, should suit Jackson just fine, too.
"Especially in a case like Michael Jackson, we don't want an immediate emotional reaction," Schafer said. "Michael Jackson will definitely at some point start to balance out in terms of positive and negative in the next few years."