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 The Nation blog. 

Primary elections are about running to the extremes; general elections are about running to the middle. In the case of Republicans that journey back to the middle is one that has to be balanced keeping their fragile base of Evangelicals, tea partiers and free-marketers content yet reaching a growing percentage of voters that no longer identify with one party. General elections in the modern times are increasingly about wooing Independent voters, and as we move into the general election, the focus will be on them. Romney, the likely nominee, will have to balance his ticket with someone that will satisfy his base and yet be able to reach Independent voters in the swing states. There are a number of likely picks but the happy middle for Romney seems to have Gingrich’s name on it.

The recent political chatter has centered on the Rand Paul vice presidential possibility. On the surface it seems plausible. First, it would at least explain why Ron Paul has been so uncharacteristically tame toward Romney. Second, Rand Paul is a conservative Southerner an identity that Romney does not connect well with. However, Rand Paul’s brand of conservatism is far too extreme for the general voter. In Paul’s senate campaign he argued that private businesses should still have the right to discriminate. One thing is to advocate for state’s rights in general terms and the other is to try to argue against a long settled constitutional and societal norm that discrimination is unacceptable. While this position did not harm his election, it may not play as well outside of his home state of Kentucky and the Deep South. (more…)

This article was originally published at NBC Latino

Judging by the more than 400 “likes” on Newt Gingrich – Para Latinos Facebook, Newt Gingrich should do well with Latinos in the Florida primary this coming Tuesday. By contrast, Mitt Romney only has a dozen or so “likes” on his page.  But Facebook popularity does not win elections because according to the Univision-ABC-Latino Decisions poll released this week of Latino Florida voters Romney wins the popularity contest that really matters.

Less than a week before the primary, Mitt Romney’s favorability among Latinos in Florida is at 40%, comfortably ahead of Newt Gingrich’s 33% approval. More specifically, Romney’s favorables are not only higher but his unfavorables are lower than Gingrich’s. When these Latino voters were asked who they would vote for, Romney’s favorability ratings translated into solid vote intentions, 35%, followed by Newt Gingrich at 20%, Ron Paul at 6%, and Rick Santorum at 8%.

Gingrich may be surging among the general electorate in Florida, but among Floridian Latinos a surge has yet to materialize. They refuse to embrace Newt Gingrich even though he is the only candidate that has coordinated a consistent Latino outreach effort since late 2010. His is the only campaign with a full fledged Spanish language website, presidentegingrich.com, which greets the Latino visitors with a list of 10 reasons why he’s their guy. Romney on the other hand has a a rinky-dink English language page that looks like a low-tech blog. (more…)