I think self respect is just as important as earning the respect of others, agreeing for the sake of going with the popular opinion, may mean that people like you, but it also means a loss of self respect for you. Just because people may like you, does not necessarily mean they respect you.
For me, I'd rather have self respect, and go with my view, rather than agree just to gain popularity. If this means that people take my disagreement personally, or want to make some personal drama simply because I do not agree with them, that is their responsibility, not mine.
Reactions are a choice, if people want to react to your opinion with accusations, defensiveness, anger, or whatever, that is their choice, not your problem unless you let it become your problem.