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…)

This post originally appeared on NBCLatino.

As a teacher, it is clear which students show up to class having done their homework. Last night, Mitt Romney was that student who not only did his homework, but also did the extra homework review. Hard work does pay off and in my book he gets an A+. Now, the President was like one of those students you know is bright but that showed up to the test thinking he could wing it. But winging it either in the classroom or a presidential debate doesn’t get you much more than a C+. Last night Romney not only did his homework but had the classroom behavior that any teacher loves—confidence and respect. In contrast, the President was not the star student last night, but there’s still time in the semester.

The Mitt Romney that showed up last night was the “turn around” expert. He was the kid that had the reputation of being a good student but had recently been struggling. A core part of Romney’s narrative is that he is the guy that can right the ship. He can take failing businesses or in the case of the Winter Olympics, a failing program, and bring about success. However, until last night, his turn around pitch for the economy had not gained traction. Mitt Romney not only turned around his flailing campaign at the debate, he once again made his Mr. Fix It brand a central component of this election.

The Barack Obama that showed up last night was the same that spoke to the Democratic National Committee Convention earlier this year in Charlotte. But the crucial difference is that in Charlotte, like in high school debates, the President got to tap out and sub his partner—Bill Clinton. Last night, there was no Clinton to make up for Obama’s lack of preparation.

Elections like grades are determined not just by a single homework assignment or debate. There are still two more presidential debates and one vice presidential debate to go before final grades are turned in. (more…)

Republican Presidential candidate, Mitt Romney came to Orlando, FL to address the National Association of Latino Elected Officials annual meeting. In his remarks he did not duck the issue of immigration, however his policy plans remain rather broad.