It really depends how the dimmer works. As far as I know, most of the dimmers on the market now are of the switched type, which rapidly switches on and off a couple thousand times a second (I don't know the typical frequencies) to give you more of a duty-cycle type of dimming. This means the load still sees the same peak voltages, so W=V^2/R doesn't put us into exponential terroritory like rheostats would. On the surface looks like it would be linear- dim 50%, get 50% the light. However, at high switching frequencies, line conductors have considerable inductance, so currents while the switch is switched on are slightly higher than you'd get from looking at the resistance of the light bulb due to the building magnetic field, and the overall response curve isn't quite linear.
I'd imagine their claims are never exactly right since there are too many variables, but somewhere in the ballpark. Just don't plug in a CFL or LED bulb