Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto

Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto


Victoria is Assistant Dean at the LBJ School of Public Affairs and a contributor to MSNBC and Telemundo. Her areas of expertise in the domestic policy landscape include immigration, Latinos, women and childcare, and economic equity. more→


Victoria brings an interdisciplinary lens to understanding policy development and its intersection with institutional and political contexts. Underlying her academic work is the applicability of rigorous research to on-the-ground policy realities.

Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto
Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto

Recent Media

This post originally appeared on MSNBC.com

Both presidential candidates have been laying it on thick with the ladies. Not that I blame them. We not only out-register and out-vote our male counterparts, we are also multi-issue voters otherwise known as swing voters.

Both candidates push a brand of female appeal, whether on the economy, health, or women’s rights. But, Republican nominee Mitt Romney is saddled by a serious problem, bad GOP wingmen.

It’s like Romney is that guy at a party who’s chatting up a lady and his wingman—let’s call him Senate candidate Richard Mourdock—saunters up and, instead of saying something smooth, offends the lady with whom Romney was hoping to close the deal.

While both presidential candidates desperately want the female vote, one of them has the natural advantage: Barack Obama. Today women are eight to 10 percentage points more likely than men to identify as Democrats. In every presidential election since 1980 a greater proportion of women than men have preferred the Democratic candidate. This phenomenon has come to be known as the “gender gap.” In 2008, the gender gap was seven percentage points, and in 1996, we saw the biggest gender gap ever: 11 points separated Bill Clinton from Bob Dole.

So the GOP hasn’t traditionally been popular with female voters. Yet, in the 2010 midterm elections, Republicans saw an increase of 16 percentage points among women for Republican candidates. (more…)

In this installment of the University of Texas Election Series I discuss the voting trends of women. In particular I focus on the gender gap and how women traditionally tend to favor the Democratic candidate. Looking ahead to the 2012 presidential election I consider how the recent relevance of issues such as contraception coverage will enter into the electoral context.

This post originally appeared on NBCLatino.

As a Latina from the Southwest I feel proud to see Governor Susana Martinez at the helm of New Mexico and as a potential Republican vice presidential pick.  I respect her hard work and know the obstacles she has faced as a woman of color.  I applaud Governor Martinez, but I wouldn’t vote for her.  She may be a woman and a Latina, but I don’t agree with her policy positions.  And it’s this policy discrepancy that will ultimately keep ladies—Latinas and non-Latinas alike—from supporting a Romney-Martinez ticket.

Women consistently support Democratic candidates over Republican candidates, regardless of the gender of the candidates.  Since 1980, there has been a discernible gender gap in how men and women vote.  For example, in the 2008 presidential election women favored the all male Obama-Biden ticket by seven percentage points over the McCain-Palin ticket.   Even in 2010 when a record number of Republican women, ran and were elected to office the gender gap remained; women continued to be less likely to support Republican candidates.

Susana Martinez was one of the GOP women swept into office in 2010.   She had the curious circumstance of running against a Democratic woman so the possibility of attracting votes based on gender alone was not an issue in this race.  We don’t know exactly what the general voter breakdown was based on gender since there were no exit polls.  However, we do know from the Latino Decisions Election Eve poll that only 30 percent of Latinas voted for Martinez while the rest voted for her Democratic challenger.  In other words, the gender “gap” was more of a gulf in 2010 among New Mexican Latinas and very likely among non-Latina women. (more…)