That Democrats are airing TV ads tying downballot Republican candidates to the GOP presidential ticket is nothing new.

That those ads more often feature GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan than presidential nominee Mitt Romney is somewhat unexpected.
Democrats in a total of seven non-presidential races this year have run ads attacking Ryan, according to Kantar Media/CMAG, which tracks TV ads. Several of those are ads run by the party’s House campaign arm, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

By contrast, Kantar/CMAG has tracked just five Democratic ads tying downballot candidates to Romney. There have been just two instances thus far of pro-Ryan ads aired by downballot GOP candidates, including one launched this week by Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.).

The data are the latest sign that Romney’s choice to tap Ryan as his running mate has been one laden with risk as well as reward. New Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation polling released this week indicates that a majority of voters in the top three swing states of Ohio, Florida and Virginia oppose an overhaul of Medicare similar to the one Ryan has proposed.

While Ryan has taken a new turn in the spotlight of some Democratic campaign ads, both he and Romney are still far from becoming the type of target that Obama has become in downballot ads on the GOP side, according to Kantar/CMAG.

Since April 10, the group has found more than 150,000 occurrences of downballot ads attacking Obama compared with about 1,700 slamming Ryan and nearly 1,300 taking aim at Romney.

One new example of an ad tying a statewide candidate to Obama came this week, when Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) launched a new TV spot calling his Democratic opponent, former U.S. surgeon general Richard Carmona, “Barack Obama’s rubber stamp.”