Interesting numbers in this Rasmussen Report poll. It provides some insight into how Democrats and Republicans veiw themselves and makes plain some voter confusion.
Rasmussen found that 61% of Republicans found "conservative" a positive term of description. That rose to 74% for "like Reagan. That seems to show a clear self-identification among Republicans, and some clarity of ideology.
Among Democrats, only 32% consider "liberal" a positive descriptor, although it climbs to 42% if you apply "progressive." It makes you wonder what a Democrat considers a good self-description. Or it may be decades of demonisation of "liberal" by Republicans is paying off to an incredible degree.
What's weird is that 26% of Republicans think progressive is a positive description! In the immortal words of Fezzik, "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."
Historically, (capital-p) Progressive has a specific meaning, in that it refers to failed defunct political parties. It also refers to the political movement dating back to the 19th century, started by Christian reformers. It later morphed into a political movement in the Twenties and Thirties dominated by Communist dupes and Soviet agents.
I guess we're far enough along that those meanings are largely forgotten by enough people to make a safe haven for modern Democrats to adopt it. But why Republicans like it? I can't say. Maybe there's a new latent strain of activist conservatism waiting to bloom in reaction to the piggery and elitism of the current Republican leadership?