I remember from college the conversation of a young woman, a music major, who had been browbeaten by a graduate student, instructor of a freshman English class, after she had said that she liked McKuen's poetry. The browbeating did not, at least right away, lead to her developing a taste for such poets as the English Department approved of. It did lead to a distaste for English classes, or at least English graduate students. I believe that I heard of more than one case of such browbeating.
The Times quotes the San Francisco Chronicle to the effect that
There was a time not long ago when every enlightened suburban split-level home had its share of Rod McKuen. His mellow poetry was on the end table ...That depends on the definition of "enlightened", I suppose. I can think of a few suburban split-level homes that had well-educated household and no McKuen. The statement reminds me of Graves and Hodges in The Reader over Your Shoulder, in "Principles of Clear Statement" glossing "You will find bee orchards almost anywhere in Devon" as "meaning perhaps in a few fields in several parishes in the Torbay district of South Devon."
Certainly McKuen sold a lot of books, and singers of his lyrics sold a lot of records. He had a difficult childhood and adventurous youth. He lived, as poets often do, a long life, dying at 81.