By Eric V | on 08/18/16

Do Eli Manning, The Rock, and Howard Stern live up to their media portrayals?

Everyone from Donald Trump to Lindsay Lohan complains about how they’re portrayed in the media or perceived by the general population.

It can’t be avoided. Rumors, generalizations, and mistaken impressions come with the territory for celebrities.

But what if you could actually put those portrayals and perceptions to the test? What if you could actually ask the general population how they actually perceived celebrities?

It turns out that you can. We studied the celebrities that made it onto the Forbes highest-paid celebrities list as part of SurveyMonkey Measures: Celebrity—a comprehensive list analyzing the qualities that contribute to celebrity success.

We asked people across the U.S. about the celebrities that made Forbes’ list to find out if their perceptions matched common narratives about those celebrities.

Here’s what we found.

Agree or disagree: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is a brand and business savvy figure who has adapted to the times to find success.

Americans love a comeback story, and our data agrees. Among all the celebrities SurveyMonkey studied, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s story is perhaps the best example.

From a failed football player with 7 dollars in his pocket to a multi-million dollar actor with his own production company, The Rock has earned his spot as the No. 1 most business savvy actor and the actor with the No. 1 best brand.

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Johnson earns respect in part from his inspiring life story but also from his reputation as one of the hardest working actors in the business.

That’s probably one reason why he earned the spot for No. 2 most respected celebrity overall (not just among actors).

To top it all off? He’s the No. 3 celebrity people would most like to trade lives with. They must really like cod.

Agree or disagree: Eli Manning is a mediocre quarterback with a less-than-mediocre IQ.

It was Eli Manning’s game face that launched a thousand gifs and probably even more mean Deadspin articles.

Remember that it ain’t us saying this. In fact, our data suggests people don’t believe this narrative is even true.

Athletes, and particularly quarterbacks, tend to catch a lot of hate for mistakes on the field and bone-headed decisions. But New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning seems to get called out a lot for being not-so-good at his job and well, dumb.

But that’s not what our data says! The people we surveyed actually had a pretty rosy view of Manning. In fact, among the athletes on Forbes’ list, Manning was the No. 1 most respected.

And the mean-girl comments about his IQ? Among the athletes on the list, he’s actually tied for second place with, guess who, Tom Brady.

Agree or disagree: Radio host Howard Stern has aged gracefully from a raunchy “shock jock” to a master interviewer who’s able to unravel the stories of the most elusive of public figures.

Sorry, Howard. The Americans we talked to probably wouldn’t say you’ve made the transition to a serious radio interviewer just yet.

Stern made it to 7th on Forbes’ list of highest-paid celebrities, signing a 5-year contract with Sirius XM radio and raking in $85 million.

How’d he get there? Stern’s specialty is diving face-first into some of the most controversial content you can hear on the radio. But it’s hard to argue that the subjects of his interviews haven’t gotten more high-profile.

While he got his career started talking to porn stars and strippers, he’s gotten regular interviews with one presidential nominee to be, and has turned some heads for his candid interviews with people like Bill Murray and Gwen Stefani.

While we didn’t ask our survey respondents specifically about Stern, his overall scores weren’t particularly reflective of someone people believe to be a genius interviewer.

Overall, he was the second least respected celebrity on the list, behind Rush Limbaugh (there must be something about radio hosts). They called him the 19th most talented (out of 20), the 5th most overpaid, but at least they gave him 5th place for highest IQ.

Whether they’re correct or not, the impressions people form about celebrities are often heavily influenced by the media that gives them attention.

We can see it as people applaud Dwayne Johnson’s rise, and as we find Howard Stern unable to overcome his brand as a raunchy radio DJ (not that he’s trying). As for the smears and apparent defense for Eli Manning? Well, football fans are crazy, man.

See how your favorite celebrity fares in SurveyMonkey Measures: Celebrity, a comprehensive list analyzing the qualities—both positive and negative—that contribute to celebrity success.

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