Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto

Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto

Victoria’s research analyzes how human thought and emotion shape political behavior. Her academic work focuses on: campaigns and elections, political marketing, women in politics, race and ethnic politics, and immigration.

Victoria’s research agenda is underpinned by political psychology allowing her to understand individual-level motivations that in the aggregate form our dynamic political landscape. Her research projects examine the influence of social group identities (e.g. race, gender, ethnicity, religion, partisanship) on political behavior.

Currently, Victoria is examining the growth of the Latino population and how this demographic shift will affect the United States along social, political, and economic dimensions.  This book project looks at the historical role of immigrants and focuses on what elements make Latino immigrants unique and different from past immigration waves and how this will affect the future of the nation.

Her second current research project looks at the role of women in politics.  In particular, Victoria examines how women of color navigate the intersection of partisanship and ethnicity. With the recent rise of elected Republican women of color (e.g. Governors Susana Martinez and Nikki Haley) Victoria considers how women can shape their party’s rhetoric and platforms.

Victoria’s ongoing research looks at the effectiveness of different forms of Latino campaign micro-targeting.  Drawing from the consumer marketing, she uses an Integrated Marketing Communications approach to understand what strategies maximize the likelihood that a message is delivered and processed to a target group. Victoria is also interested in the study of “Ricochet Effects” – the effect of a targeted message that is inadvertently delivered to the non-target group.

Victoria has also published several papers on inter-minority relations, with an emphasis on the negotiation of race relations in the new South as a result of the growth of Latinos in that region. A third major component of Victoria’s research is the area of campaign media effects, where she and Jennifer Merolla were the first to publish a study on the role of Latino-angled campaign advertisements on electoral behavior.