Rove predicts Romney victory with at least 279 Electoral College votes

Republican strategist Karl Rove on Thursday predicted GOP nominee Mitt Romney would win the presidency.

In an op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal, the former George W. Bush adviser said he expected Romney to win with 51 percent of the vote to Obama's 48, "with Mr. Romney carrying at least 279 Electoral College votes, probably more."

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"It comes down to numbers. And in the final days of this presidential race, from polling data to early voting, they favor Mitt Romney," wrote Rove. 

Rove, who now runs the conservative nonprofit group Crossroads GPS, which has spent heavily in swing states in support of Romney, focused on the recent Gallup tracking numbers, showing they suggested Obama would hit a ceiling of 48 percent support. 

Rove’s predictions comes as a slew of national and state polls show a close race with only days remaining until the election. An ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll released Thursday shows the candidates locked in a 49-49 tie. 

The Obama campaign has also touted its early-voting edge, claiming that those who have already cast a ballot have favored the president.

Rove said that advantage would be reversed, noting that in Gallup’s survey 15 percent had voted early, but the 63 percent who intended to vote on Election Day “supported Mr. Romney, 51 percent to 46.”

Polls in key battlegrounds, including Ohio, also suggest many states remain a toss-up. An Ohio Poll released this week showed Obama up 2 in the Buckeye State, with conservative polling outlet Rasmussen putting Romney up 2, at 50-48.

But Rove said early voting in Ohio was down overall for Democrats. “[A]s of Tuesday, 530,813 Ohio Democrats had voted early or had requested or cast an absentee ballot,” he wrote. “That's down 181,275 from four years ago. But 448,357 Ohio Republicans had voted early or had requested or cast an absentee ballot, up 75,858 from the last presidential election.”

Rove said the numbers were a strong sign “the Buckeye GOP effort is larger than the massive Bush 2004 get-out-the-vote operation.”

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