Facing a choice between a registration and an earned-legalization plan and a plan that included deportation and enforcement only, GOP voters favored the earned-legalization approach by 58 percent to 33 percent, said the poll, which was conducted by the Tarrance Group for the Manhattan Institute from Oct. 2 to Oct. 5.
"Our new poll shows that Republican voters see the hard-liners' tough talk for the posturing it is, and side with the reformers, said Tamar Jacoby, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.
The poll also found that 78 percent of likely Republican voters favored an immigration policy that included increased border security, tougher penalties for employers who hired illegal workers and a policy that allowed illegal immigrants to come forward and register for a temporary worker program that eventually placed them on a path to citizenship.
Some 67 percent of respondents indicated to the pollsters that they would have a more favorable view of President George W. Bush if he supported an earned-legalization reform plan.
The poll was conducted among 800 likely Republican voters. The margin of error was plus/minus 3.5 percent.