Why is Objectivism "unpopular?" In responding to this question, it may be worth noting that the preponderance of the West's professional intellectuals have both financial and also psychological reasons to dislike Objectivism. Financial, because most of the West's professional intellectuals make a living in a manner that is inconsistent with Objectivist principles; psychological, because these principles imply that this manner of making a living is shameful.
Most of the West's professional intellectuals are professional educators. And most educators, whether at the university level or below, are directly or indirectly subsidized through taxes that are coercively extracted from their fellow citizens. Because Objectivism implies that such forcible extractions are unjust—even criminal—most professional educators have reason to oppose Objectivism, and to oppose classically liberal philosophic principles generally. In so far as educators are voicing this opposition before intellectually suggestible students in their classrooms, then, or otherwise expressing it publicly, one might reasonably expect Objectivism to become unpopular.
This writer recently published a short essay that pertains directly to this issue. The essay, entitled "Socialized Education and the Ascendancy of Socialism," and published in the Letters to the Editor section of the online Objectivist periodical The Undercurrent, does not specifically address the subject of Objectivism's public reputation. It does, however, attempt to explain the relationship between the government subsidization of education and educators, and the rise of socialist ideas and policies. Indirectly, therefore, it may help explain "why Objectivism is so unpopular."
If permitted by the Administrators, below is a link to the aforementioned essay: