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Explaining the Senate’s surge in support for marriage equality

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FiveThirtyEight (The New York Times)
|
April 5, 2013

Nate Silver:
So many senators are declaring their support for same-sex marriage that I’ve regularly had to check my Twitter feed while working on this article, lest I miss any announcements. As Dylan Matthews of The Washington Post has detailed, 50 senators have now stated their backing for same-sex marriage, up from only 16 in 2010 and eight in 2008.

Why are senators shifting their positions so rapidly? Obviously, this mirrors the shift in opinion among the general public to some degree. But while the public’s increase in support for same-sex marriage has been exceptionally linear and steady, the number of senators endorsing it has increased at exponential rates over the last few years, with a remarkable jump in the last two weeks when a cascade of senators announced their support.