The ad, a small cable buy that will be accompanied by radio spots in 11 targeted districts, comes after party research and public polling has found Ryan becoming increasingly toxic with independent and Republican voters. According to the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll, released last week, just 31 percent of voters now view Ryan favorably. And Democratic research, conducted over the summer, found Republicans increasingly blaming Ryan for what was seen as sluggish progress in Washington.
A focus on Ryan would represent a shift from the messaging that failed Democrats in 2016, linking Republicans to Donald Trump. Republicans’ own polling finds that voters still distinguish between the president and the congressional GOP. But Democrats, increasingly, see that as an opening — a way to reintroduce the party, whose brand remains badly tarnished, to voters who supported Trump but oppose the GOP’s economic agenda.