LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – It’s June. The U.S. presidential  election is in November. So does it pay to be the front-runner now — or the underdog?mccain7.jpg

Republican John McCain has gone with underdog, declaring himself just that in an interview with ABC News’ Charles Gibson on Thursday, two days after Illinois Sen. Barack Obama became the presumptive Democratic nominee.

“Are you the underdog?” Gibson asked, according to a transcript of the interview.
“Oh, yes, I think so. I think so,” McCain replied.

“I think — I’m surprised, frankly, to see the polls as close as they are, given our brand problems in the Republican Party. I’m pleased where we are.”

Sometimes you don’t want to be the favorite.

Hillary Clinton, who is set to end her campaign for the Democratic nomination this week, was the clear front-runner last year before she lost to Obama in January in Iowa, the first state to hold a nominating contest.