A recent blog post by Hans Noel and Dan Hopkins shows their work on how Trump has redefined what "conservative" means to the mass public. They sample activists (people who are MORE equipped to make these evaluations) and have them rate which of two politicians is more liberal or conservative. This is called a "pairwise comparison". Republican activists tend to see legislators who support Trump as more conservative than their voting record suggest they are. The opposite happens for people who openly opposed Trump- they are seen as more moderate even though they have conservative voting credentials. Here is a great graphic with the perception rating on the X axis and the voting measure on the Y axis. You can see that Jeff Sessions, who very clearly embraced Trump, is moderate in his voting relative to someone like Jeff Flake. But he's PERCEIVED as more conservative than Flake, who openly opposed Trump.
Some of my sabbatical work will expand on this finding using both observational and experimental methods. Stay tuned and read their full article here: https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/how-trump-has-redefined-conservatism/