From Jennifer at "What's Your Brand Mantra": she created a passion index based on the search results returned from "I hate <brand?>". Not scientific. She admits she's just procrastinating.
I don't agree with the sentiment that any PR is good PR. On the flip side, big successful companies become big targets. Competitive markets, where to love one product you must not like it's competitor, create a lot of this. And anyone who devotes a lot of time to hating someone or something...they need to find a hobby.
Not sure how you measure the perception of the well-educated consumer (not talking about degrees, talking about how educated they are on the companies and products) but I'm sure some market researcher somewhere knows. But then, good marketing has to hit the whole market, not just the people who take the time to learn. The bigger you get, I guess the bigger and more complex your marketing challenge..and the bigger the rewards.