THAT’S why so many liberals call themselves ‘progressives’

I could tell right away that this Pew research wasn’t done in South Carolina: 50 percent having a positive impression of the word “liberal,” as opposed to only 39 percent negative?

Not around here, where it’s the most common epithet hurled — so common that it seems inconceivable to me that it has any sort of force any more. I mean, in communications from such people as, say, Joe Wilson, it’s used more or less as often as commas.

Of course, even nationally, “conservative” is viewed as positive by a larger margin — 62 to 30 percent.

What struck me was that “progressive” — which is used synonymously in this country with “liberal” — is viewed positively by an even larger margin, 67-22 percent. (Again, I suspect “conservative” would poll better in SC than “progressive.”)

No wonder it’s so popular among liberals. Oh, and get this — the major difference in attitude between “liberal” and “progressive” is among Republicans. For years, I’ve wondered why Democrats think the other side is dumb enough to fall for such a minor semantic change. I guess it’s because of surveys such as this one.

Oh, and in a development that Pew apparently thought was significant, “socialism” remains unpopular…

10 thoughts on “THAT’S why so many liberals call themselves ‘progressives’

  1. Phillip

    To me the most significant finding of this poll is the degree to which “capitalism” has become a tarnished brand.

  2. Mark Stewart

    And then there’s us progressive Republicans…

    It does always amaze me how “liberal” has been co-opted by the social leaning left – and vilified by the reactionary right. To me, it’s always been more about rationalism.

  3. Phillip

    Held steady since spring 2010, you mean. I just find it interesting that when so many consider “capitalism” synonymous with “America,” that 40% have a negative view of the term, or that only 50% have a positive view of it.

  4. Silence

    I consider myself a liberal in the classical, small government sense of the word. I don’t see a whole lot of difference between modern liberals, progressives and socialists, to be honest.

  5. bud

    I’m a proud liberal since to me it equates to pragmatism. Modern conservatives in the Rush Limbaugh mold are nothing more than shills for the very rich. Not sure why it has become such a popular term. At least the way it’s used today.

  6. `Kathryn Fenner

    @ Silence–Socialism is government control of the means of production. It has to do with economics only. It does not speak to social issues like being a progressive does.

  7. Silence

    @ Kathryn,
    Socialism doesn’t have to mean government owned. I suppose I was thinking more of the social democrats seen in Europe quite frequently.

  8. `Kathryn Fenner

    Social democracy still espouses a large component of government control of services.

    I think lots of people use terms sloppily–like fascism, socialism, etc. when they mean totalitarianism, communism, authoritarianism.

    “Liberal”around here seems to mean the opposite of “conservative” which seems to mean the religious Right = social conservatives.

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