Linguistic Puzzle for the Day

Standard

To me:

“He wasn’t worse than many people” means there were not many people┬áthat 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┬áthat he wasn’t worse than. That is, he was a pretty bad person.

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