2014 Watch
July 15, 2014
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After his narrow victory in last month's very divisive Republican primary runoff, Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran is on track to win his re-election this November. However, the actual shape of the electorate now looks very odd, to say the least, as Mississippi is a state where party politics are often drawn sharply along racial lines.

In the new survey from Democratic-aligned firm Public Policy Polling, Cochran leads for the general election with 40 percent of the vote, followed by former Democratic Rep. Travis Childers with 24 percent, and Reform Party candidate Shawn O'Hara with 5 percent — leaving an immense 31 percent of voters saying they are undecided. The poll was conducted from July 10-13, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percent.

Quite notably, the poll even shows Cochran with a one-point edge among African-American voters, who typically vote Democratic: Cochran has 37 percent support, and Childers has 36 percent. Among white voters, Cochran has 42 percent, and Childers has 17 percent. Among all voters, Cochran's approval rating is 47 percent, with disapproval at 37 percent; among white voters he is underwater at 40 percent to 46 percent, while black voters now approve of the Republican incumbent by a whopping margin of 59 percent to 20 percent.

Cochran won his GOP runoff with 51 percent of the vote due to an unorthodox strategy of reaching out to the state's African-American community and encouraging them to cross over into the Republican primary in order to defeat his Tea Party-backed challenger Chris McDaniel. Since then, McDaniel has been attempting to contest the outcome, alleging that voter fraud was involved. Among all voters, though, this poll shows 58 percent of respondents saying that Cochran was the rightful winner, compared to 29 percent who are still holding out for McDaniel. Eric Kleefeld

Ebola
1:41 p.m. ET
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Liberian officials just confirmed a second case of Ebola only seven weeks after the country was declared Ebola-free. The second diagnosis comes from Nedowein, the same town where officials recently detected Ebola on a teen's corpse. The infected person has been moved 30 miles north of Nedowein to the country's capital, Monrovia, for treatment.

As if the return of Ebola weren't already bad news enough for Liberia, the country's health workers are currently protesting. The Associated Press reports that Ebola treatment workers stormed the Ministry of Health on Wednesday. They say that they have not been paid for their work since the country was declared Ebola-free on May 9.

Liberia is one of the three West African countries hit hardest by the deadly virus. Since last year, more than 11,000 people in West Africa have died from Ebola. Becca Stanek

who thinks TOOTHBRUSH?
1:22 p.m. ET
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Love is dead, basically: More people are thinking about their phones when they wake up than their significant other, a study by the Braun Research Center and Bank of America has found. Thirty-five percent of respondents said the first thing they think about in the morning is their smartphone; 17 percent think about coffee (okay, fair) and only a measly 10 percent of you think about your significant other! Perhaps most surprising of all, though, is that according to the findings, an entire 13 percent of people wake up and immediately think: "Toothbrush." Jeva Lange

Science!
1:10 p.m. ET

An individual's science knowledge is a "significant factor" in whether or not he or she believes it's safe to eat genetically modified foods, a Pew Research study finds. Adults who are more "science literate" than their peers are also more comfortable with the use of bioengineered organs for human transplant as well as the consumption of foods grown with pesticides:

The Pew study was intended to make sense of underlying patterns in public views about science. Researchers discovered that results were affected by political ideology, religion, education level, age, race and ethnicity, and gender. Men, for example, feel more favorably about eating GMOs than women do; women, on the other hand, more strongly oppose animal testing in research. The study — and all of the results — are available on the Pew Research Center's website. Jeva Lange

selfie nation
12:36 p.m. ET

For over 40 years, visitors have been instructed not to take photos in the White House. Today, Michelle Obama revealed a change in policy by ripping a sign in half in a video on her Instagram account:

Visitors still can't bring in video cameras, cameras with detachable lenses, tablets, tripods, monopods, or camera sticks. Your iPhone, though? Fair game! Take as many selfies with Bo and Sunny as you want. Jeva Lange

The big bucks
12:13 p.m. ET
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Hillary Clinton is on track to raise $45 million in the first quarter of her campaign, topping Obama's previous record of $41.9 million in his 2011 re-election campaign as the most money raised in a candidate's first three months.

On average, Clinton has raised $555,000 every day since she officially announced her run for the Democratic nomination for president in April. That's nearly $386 per minute. At this point in the 2008 presidential race, Clinton had only raised $36 million.

While a big chunk of Clinton's cash comes from high-dollar fundraisers, Bloomberg Business reports that 91 percent of Clinton's funds came from donations of $100 or less. Fundraising for the first quarter ended on Tuesday night and official fundraising totals for the quarter will be released in July. Becca Stanek

Dangerous Cutbacks
12:00 p.m. ET
Gokhan Sahin/Getty Images

The World Food Program has cut its food aid for Syrian refugees in Lebanon in half, and food support for refugees in Jordan may soon come to a standstill due to a funding crisis, the organization said today.

Lebanon and Jordan are two of the five nations that host over four million Syrian war refugees, and the U.N. refugee agency said that funding has dropped to dangerously low levels.

Drastic cutbacks at the strapped-for-cash WFP have been on the horizon for months, and the organization has already been forced to make cuts. This month, food aid in Lebanon will drop to $13.50 a person per month. Additionally, if funds do not arrive before August, 440,000 urban refugees in Jordan may also be at risk of losing food support. The WFP says it needs $139 million to continue support for Syrian refugees through September. Emily Goldberg

Coming Soon
11:41 a.m. ET

Directed by Oscar winner Danny Boyle, written by Oscar winner Aaron Sorkin, and starring Oscar nominee Michael Fassbender, the new Steve Jobs biopic has a mighty pedigree — and this first trailer makes it clear that this take on the life of the late Apple co-founder is aiming to be a top contender in next year's Oscar race:

"What do you do? You're not an engineer. You're not a designer. You can't put a hammer to a nail," says fellow Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak (Seth Rogen) in conversation with Jobs. "So how come, 10 times a day, I read, 'Steve Jobs is a genius?' What do you do?"

"Musicians play their instruments," replies Jobs. "I play the orchestra."

It's a typically grandiose take on the life and career of Steve Jobs, but the trailer also hints at the darker side of his life. And while it certainly looks more promising than the Ashton Kutcher version, we won't know Steve Jobs' ultimate take on its legendary title figure until it hits theaters in October. Scott Meslow

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