I came across an interesting opinion yesterday that was really quite clarifying.
The definition of socialism is this "a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole."
However in recent years republicans have tried to shift the definition of socialism to mean anything or any program that involves getting money from the government in general. That includes the funding of education or science or healthcare, etc. It pretty much includes the entirety of the social safety net. If this is the definition of socialism that people think of then it should be no surprise that more people are supporting it as an ideology.
Furthermore I wouldn't be surprised if that was a long term strategy, get people thinking differently about socialism so it seems like people like the original definition of it and then use the fear of the old definition of socialism from people on the right to get united behind whatever candidate they are currently pushing.