An Anonymous Coward writes:
The Guardian reports that "socialism" was the most looked-up word on Merriam-Webster's site this year, a change the American dictionary publisher attributes to US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who has positioned of himself as a "democratic socialist".
As a socialist (or communist) myself, I personally think it's great that especially people from the United States try to figure out the meaning of the word beyond McCarthyism. I'm glad that people show interest in politics and finding out about positions of candidates.
Past years winners are available on Wikipedia.
To be fair people do often confuse left/right with libertarian/authoritarian. This page at the Political Compass sums it up fairly well (and it's worth taking the test if you haven't already):
I was impressed by how accurately they rated me given the vagueness and underlying misapprehension of many of the questions. I thought many of the questions assumed things that, while commonly believed, at least at one time, were not true.
Additionally while some of the questions were absolute, many of them were relative to current social/politicat rules. (I'd have to that the test again to be explicit here, but some of the questions were of the form "Should consenting adults be allowed any sex acts they please?" where others were of the form "Are corporations too tightly regulated?". (The first is an absolute form, the second a relative form. Those are paraphrases of questions that were asked. I can't remember any of the examples of vagueness, but there were annoyingly many.)