As a longtime resident of Florida, I can tell you we see so many hurricanes and tropical storms form that we only really pay attention to a storm's Force Category and heading.
A Tropical Storm? "Looks like rain this weekend." A mere Category 1 Hurricane? "Better clean up the yard so the winds don't make it a mess." Many folks only start paying attention when it's a particularly strong Hurricane, Category 4 or so.
Even then, we're mostly just on notice to see where it ends up. Quite often strong storms will drift north out over the Atlantic and weaken or dissipate before making landfall. Or they'll plow into the Carribbean first, spending most of their fury on the poor bastards down there and ending up severely downgraded in force before they ever make landfall on the US.
(There's a point - do these numbers account for location? Storms are much deadlier in the poverty stricken Carribbean islands.)
If names factor into people's reactions down here, consciously or unconsciously, it's a very minor role compared to the factors of the severity and path of the storm. We know to batten down the hatches for a Force 5, no matter the name, and we know to not bother dragging the storm shutters out of the shed if a storm isn't actually coming our way.
There might still be some misjudgement involved, such as when a weak storm rapidly and unexpectedly strengthens, or when a storm that has been steadily plodding north decides to suddenly veer off course and put us right in it's new path, but how do you measure those effects? Do we even have such exacting data available to us far enough back to make proper comparisons?