Republicans tried to stanch their party’s bloodletting in 2006 by linking Democratic candidates to the San Francisco lawmaker, who appeared on track to become speaker if the Democrats retook the House. Last year, Ms. Pelosi was already speaker, but her party didn’t also control the presidency. Now, with Democrats holding huge congressional majorities and with Barack Obama in the White House, Democrats are more easily tied to just about anything coming out of Washington. Thus Republicans are betting that voters now associate the House speaker with policies that make them uncomfortable, like generous government spending and a cap-and-trade system for fighting global warming.

In a recent Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll, 44% of respondents had negative feelings about Ms. Pelosi and 27% had positive ones, with the remaining 29% either neutral or not sure. Among independents, 53% viewed her negatively and just 20% positively…

“These campaigns have become national,” said Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.), who heads the recruiting of Republican House candidates. “Some people say, ‘I personally like my current Congress member, but I don’t like the way Congress is going.’ Then they find out someone voted with Nancy Pelosi 97% of the time.”