Linguistic Puzzle for the Day

Standard

To me:

“He wasn’t worse than many people” means there were not many people that he was worse than. That is, he was a very good person.

“He wasn’t any worse than many people” means there are many, but still a minority, of people that he wasn’t worse than. That is, he was a pretty bad person.

Do they sound that way to you? Why the difference?

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