There is a photo that's been going around for a while with Professor Umbridge from harry Potter. The caption says something about how people hate her more than Voldemort. When I saw that, I responded as most people do: That is so true.
I didn't figure out why this was true until recently.
Professor Umbridge is an ACTIVE villain while Voldemort remained pretty inactive throughout the series.
Most of Voldemort's horrible deeds occurred before the novels even take place. Yes he killed and tortured thousands of wizards, but we never experienced that. We were just told "hey there's a scary guy who killed your parents, so you shouldn't say his name."
Even throughout the series, Voldemort didn't DO anything until the end of the books (not including Deadly Hallows).
Voldemort remained this constant threat that we never really had a chance to fear because we didn't see Harry tormented by him.
Professor Umbridge on the other hand constantly tormented the students which added to readers hating her.
My point is (in my tired state) the most powerful antagonists come from those who continuously antagonize the hero. Do not just wait until the last 20 pages to show how big band bad your antagonist is.