WHO HAS SIGNED "THIS I BELIEVE"?
Almost all of the signatures for "This I Believe" are currently from people living in the metropolitan Boston area: the Jamaica Plain, Brighton, Dorchester and Roxbury neighborhoods of Boston and the neighboring towns of Somerville, Cambridge, Watertown and Malden.
Additionally some members of PDRBoston in rural (very rural!) New Hampshire (specifically the towns of Unity and Lempster) have been collecting signatures.
The place where we get most of our signatures is in front of large grocery stores. Additionally we sometimes stand on a sidewalk near the entrance to a store with lots of customers. We've also been going door-to-door in residential streets. In New Hampshire many signatures were collected in the summer of 2014 by setting up a tent as part of the town's annual Old Home Day celebration, along with the tents with food and crafts and kiddie rides in the center of town near the town's gazebo.
THIS MAY SURPRISE YOU!
In both liberal urban NPR-listening metropolitan Boston AND in conservative right-wing-talk-radio-listening (Rush Limbaugh) rural New Hampshire, the response to "This I Believe" is overwhelmingly positive. In both places 80% of the people who stop to read "This I Believe" sign it. In New Hampshire at the Unity Old Home Day celebration the signers included the co-chair of the celebration and one of the trustees of the town library, as well as 22 other people.
ARE THE PEOPLE WHO STOP TO READ "THIS I BELIEVE" JUST A SELF-SELECTED SUB-SET WHO HAPPEN TO AGREE WITH IT?
No. Here's why we think the people who DON'T stop to read "THIS I BELIEVE" would be just as likely to sign it if they did read it as the people who DID stop. In the Jamaica Plain part of Boston, when we stand in front of the big grocery store, most people do not stop to read "THIS I BELIEVE" and 75% (often more) of those who do stop sign it. When we go door-to-door in Jamaica Plain the great majority of people agree to read "THIS I BELIEVE" and practically every single one of those people sign it. Since the people we meet going door-to-door are representative of the large majority of people who don't stop to read "THIS I BELIEVE" at the grocery store, the fact that virtually all of them sign it at their front door strongly suggests that the people who don't read it at the grocery store would be just as likely to sign it if they read it as the people who do stop to read it there.
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