Did Pres. Obama’s slow uptake on the political side of BP’s blowout cost Democrats? Well, I’d say that the catastrophe confirms what people are feeling, which is that the federal government is incompetent and so is everyone in Washington who runs it.

Gallup has new numbers that aren’t good for Democrats. The interviews were conducted between May 24-30th, a time when the crescendo of criticism coming Pres. Obama’s way was deafening.

There is no doubt that the Obama administration had Com. Thad Allen mobilized early (to reiterate, I was on the first conference call that Saturday, May 1st).

The problem was that all anyone saw was BP’s floundering, the oil pouring into the ocean, with no federal effort in sight.

There was no Administration presence, single point person, or strong visuals or efforts from the feds, which Obama is charged to lead as president. It was all BP all the time for far too long. All of this while the criticism rose from every corner, including the outbursts from James Carville, Donna Brazile and many other loyal Democrats.

The shift from a more competitive race to a Republican lead occurred the same week President Barack Obama averaged a 46% job approval rating, his lowest weekly average to date. Two structural changes in the data help explain the shift. First, while the percentage of registered voters identifying as Republicans has been consistent over the past several weeks, during the last week there was a decline in the percentage of voters identifying as Democrats and an increase in independent identifiers. – Gallup

I’d say Obama can get the lead back, but one real problem in doing so is that all summer long we may see the BP blowout catastrophe manifest along the Florida coast and maybe spread further east, via visuals of oil on shore. It could be a very slow political bleed all summer unless someone comes up with an alternate plan.

Small tankers inside the Gulf to siphon off the oil has been said to be too cumbersome a response, given all the equipment on and below the water. However, if the oil continues to pump out of the BP well it’s going to make for horrific visuals for a very long time.

It seems pretty clear that the ones who may be made to pay are Democrats. Nate Silver agrees.