What Are Q Scores, and How Are They Calculated?

In politics, polls help gauge a candidate’s popularity among the voters. When it comes to celebrities, Q Scores serve much the same purpose. You’ve probably heard of celebrity Q Scores before. But you may not know much how they work, how they’re calculated, and what they really mean.

Let’s dive into the 50+ year history of Q Scores. Here’s what fans need to know about their favorite A-listers and how ranking works. For some, Q Scores could lead to more lucrative opportunities. For other celebrities, Q Scores could be a sign of a major fall from public grace.

What are Q Scores, anyway?

For celebrities, Q Scores are a way to gauge their likeability. Assigning a score combines a series of indicators, including how well a star is recognized by the general public. The Q stands for quotient, as Mental Floss explains, citing the mathematical equation to produce the official score.

Marketing Evaluations, Inc. is the company behind the Q Score. They maintain several databases of official scores for dead and living celebrities. The company sends out ongoing polls based on national samples of audience members to collect initial data. Respondents have to choose if they’ve heard of a particular celebrity first before rating them on a scale indicating their favorability or lack thereof.

Dividing the number of people who recognize a particular celebrity by the number of people who consider that celebrity to be their absolute favorite nets a Q Score. A high positive Q Score is great, while a drop in Q Scores means a celebrity has lost ground among fans, as Grunge explains.

Do celebrities with higher Q Scores make more money?

The short answer is for sure. Celebrities with great Q Scores and increased likability are more likely to land deals with advertisers as product or service spokespersons. From music industry moguls to movie stars, the more likeability a star has, the more appealing they can be for lucrative deals.

The Q Score evaluations are now starting to extend to reality stars and YouTube influencers, as well. So for those online celebrities, popularity translates to increased moolah. For now, influencers’ Q Scores aren’t as high as their television, music, or movie counterparts. 

Variety says even the highest-scoring YouTubers can’t touch the scores of movie stars. But great Q Scores do lead to bigger paydays for those online stars.

Celebrity examples of both good and bad Q Scores

Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson pose for photos at The 2022 Met Gala
Pete Davidson and Kim Kardashian at The 2022 Met Gala | Gotham/Getty Images

If you want to see how your favorite celebrities, musicians, pro athletes, and influencers rank, you can check out Q Scores directly. But here’s how some of the most well-known names are ranking these days, including the incredibly popular to the most disliked of all.

Few names manage to earn all-time-high Q Scores in the negative but continue to be well-recognized, like Kim Kardashian, the queen of someone you’d “love to hate.” The country’s last president also shares similar status. On the digital side, Ryan Higa and Pentatonix both ranked very likable with Q Scores of 30, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

In the category of favorite NFL quarterbacks, The Bleacher Report shared Q Scores for the biggest names. More than 33% of fans in the poll said Peyton Manning is one of the most favorited of all, with a Q Score of 33. Drew Brees earned a 29, meaning both are more likable than Tom Brady.

A few celebrities who once enjoyed a high score but later fell drastically include a few names you’ll likely recognize. Dr. Mehmet Oz used to have a great Q Score as one of America’s favorite on-screen doctors. Then, in his quest for political leadership, his score fell a few notches.

When a group of physicians wrote in to Columbia University about what they called his “quack treatments,” Dr. Oz’s Q Score dropped. And Bill Cosby, at one point, only had a nine percent negative view. By 2015, in light of his accused behavior, more than half of all polled disliked him.

Now that you know what Q Scores are all about, who are you going to look up first?

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