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The following is a fact-check from the July 18, 2010 episode of Meet the Press:

REP. PETE SESSIONS (R-TX) | The Tea Party movement is comprised of about 1/3 Democrats, 1/3 Republicans, and 1/3 independents – FALSE

REP. SESSIONS: I think it’s clear to me that what–when I look at the tea party, it’s about one-third Democrat, one-third Republican, one-third independents.

According to the April CBS News/New York Times poll that looked at the makeup of the Tea Party, 54% of members call themselves Republicans, 41% call themselves Independents, and 5% call themselves Democrats. In an earlier March USA Today/Gallup poll, 49% of Tea Party members called themselves Republicans, 43% Independents, and 8% referred to themselves as Democrats. That same poll was used with two other Gallup polls, the latest in June, all together indicating even less consider themselves Independents or Democrats:

Since we prefer to take a look at statements in a fairly technical sense, Rep. Sessions does preface his statement with “I think it’s clear to me that” which could be used to show he is stating his opinion rather than a fact. However, it seems fairly obvious to us that he was attempting to state that the Tea Party is almost perfectly balanced ideologically, but it’s reasonable to assume he has seen/heard the heavily reported data that has indicated the opposite. Frankly, we are also inclined to give none of the guests this week any benefit of the doubt, as all are party campaign committee chairmen and spoke so often in talking points.

Sooner or later we may need to come up with a stronger worded conclusion than “FALSE” for statements like this, but for now, because there is no basis in any data we could find to correlate Rep. Sessions’ statement that the Tea Party is made of up of equal parts Republican, Democrat and Independent, we rate his statement FALSE.

This fact-check took a combined 2 hours.

UPDATE/ED NOTE: As a rule, Meet the Facts will never weigh in on whether or not a statement is a “lie” – it is simply impossible to ever know for sure if someone is deliberately making a false statement. Obviously lying is most likely commonplace in the world of politics, but it is not something we believe we have the right to conclude on one way or the other. We believe readers can and will make up their own minds.

**A previous version of this post included a typo incorrectly stating that Rep. Sessions represented the state of Alabama, he represents the 32nd district of Texas.**

The following is a fact-check of the May 23, 2010 episode of Meet the Press:

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX) | A recent NY Times poll said that 57% of independents sympathize with the tea party movement. – FALSE

SEN. CORNYN:  The fact is, as a New York Times poll said recently, that 57 percent of independents, the people who actually win elections, or, or tip the balance of elections, sympathize with the tea party movement.

Looking at every recent poll posted on the New York Times website, including the poll they conducted in April specifically regarding the tea party movement, there is absolutely no data that even comes close to backing up or even properly relating to Sen. Cornyn’s statement.

In the April poll by NYT/CBS which specifically looked at the tea party, the respondents consisted of 31% Democrats, 28% Republicans, 33% independents, and 7% don’t know/no answer. Of the overall respondents, 21% had a favorable view of the tea party and 25% thought its supporters views reflected those of most Americans. There were no breakdowns made available of those two responses based on party affiliation. Only 18% of the overall respondents identified themselves as tea party supporters, and of that 18%, only 40% identified themselves as independents.

In a February poll by NYT/CBS which consisted of  30% Democrats, 28% Republicans, and 42% independents, only 26% said they had a favorable view of the tea party.

Neither poll ever used the term “sympathy” or “sympathize” regarding questions on the subject of tea party support or favorability.

Unless there is some “recent” poll by the New York Times not listed on the New York Times website or on, then “the fact is” Sen. Cornyn’s statement is as FALSE as any statement could possibly be.

This fact check took a combined 2 hours, 10 minutes.