Ninki ga arimasu


So in 4.4 we are introduced to ninki and the lesson likens the usage to kirei with:
totemo ninki as very popular and totemo kirei as very beautiful.
When I learned this originally, I could swear I learned that despite the way we use popular in English, it was different in Japanese. Kirei is an adjective which is why sentences end with desu, because it is or it is not... but ninki was not an adjective; it was something that was quantifiable in that you have it or you don't, which is why sentences end in ga aru / ga nai
Because of this explanation, I learned that to express someone was very popular, you should say, "takusan ninki ga arimasu" versus "totemo ninki ga arimasu" or has a lot of popularity vs has very popularity.
Are both correct? Is this something which changed colloquially in the last 20 years?

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