No idea if this applies elsewhere, but around here, there's been pretty much an explosion of gyms opening up over the last few years or so. Most of them the 24 hour kind, sure, but even most (maybe all?) of those actually do have weights, benches and so on. Seems to be a more popular pastime in general, IOW.
Also, I would say Crossfit has made barbells in particular more "acceptable", and just more well-known to the public, in ways other than in the Olympics every 4 years - assuming any given viewer is even going to see the weightlifting then...
I know, Crossfit cops a lot of flack, but credit where it's due, I reckon.
And I might be wrong, but it looks a lot like more and more people in general (not just those competing in sports) being aware of the benefits of resistance training, every year. Could make them more likely to appreciate powerlifting? Maybe start training themselves - even have a go in a local comp...!
edit: Also, I agree that powerlifting-style training gets pushed on forums a lot.
Last edited by Dray; 03-26-2013 at 10:06 AM.