The popular thought is that the current economic crisis helps Obama. I am less certain that this is true. Yes a down turn in the economy favors Obama as the agent of change. However, a sever economic down turn I believe may actually help McCain. Why? Lets look at Obama's economic program. Firstly it is about more government oversight and regulation. I think the average vote realize this doesn't mean squat when businesses are failing. Secondly the mathemagic tax cut for 95% americans also become meaningless if there aren't jobs for them to earn income for tax cuts. Thirdly, while yet to be announced, should Obama propose some kind of government mass employment projects, there just isn't enough tax revenue from this, especially after the bailout and with a bad economy.
Things McCain may have in his favor with the credit crisis are as follows. Firstly, using the bailout funds to directly refinance homebuyers mortgages will make it easier for them to keep their home. I cannot stress enough the safe haven perception of having a secure home when the world appears to be falling down around you. And his proposal could be easily tweaked to allow homeowners a forbearance should they become unemployed. This really isn't disimmilar to student education loans so lets not worry too much about socialism just yet. Secondly, McCain's healthcare plans involve giving individuals tax safe allowances to purchase medical coverage regardless of whther they have a job or not. Again this becomes more flexible in a period of severe economic downturn. In addition, I think that McCain's tax plans are much more friendly to small business that may have been permissive with Obama's tax plans and McCain will become much more appealing.
Currently polls have Obama's lead shrinking as the economy worsens, and McCain's favorable ratings equivalent to that of Obama. I interpret this as those polled want a better economy but are not certain that Obama will deliver. I also take it to mean they don't blame McCain himself for the economic crisis which means he still has a chance to convince voters he can do better than Obama. Also considering that approval rating for Congress is substantially less than of Bush linking McCain as Bush 3rd term gets weaker and weaker. Especially whether right or not, Bush is actually doing something to help stop the hemorrhage in the economy. Thus the severe economic downturn may turn voters back to the more business friendly economic proposals of McCain.