Most Americans have heard white people use the N-word, with Southerners and Republicans being the most likely to have heard it used recently.
The use of racially abusive language has hit the headlines after TV chef Paula Deen admitted under oath to having used the n-word. Deen made the admission during a deposition regarding a racial and sexual discrimination lawsuit against her Uncle Bubba's Seafood and Oyster House in Savannah, Georgia.
While Deen claims it's been "a very long time" since she used the n-word, most Americans have different experiences. 51% of Americans report having heard friends, family or colleagues who are not black refer to a black person using the n-word in the past five years.
The percentages of those who had heard the racist slur used remain roughly the same across different age groups, however, differences exist across political affiliations and regions. 56% of Republicans say they've heard it used in the past five years, while only 43% of Democrats have heard it used.
Regionally speaking, respondents in the South were the ones most likely to have heard it used, while those in West were the ones least likely to have heard it used.
The same poll also asked whether Americans think Deen, whose contract with Food Network will not be renewed, should have been fired. On this question, public opinion is not decisive. 27% of Americans support the decision not to renew her contract, while 38% say she should get her job back.
Since the controversy began, Deen has made multiple apologies, though this has not stopped the blowback from sponsors. In addition to losing her show, she has lost contracts with a variety of compnaies including Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Target and pharmaceutical maker Novo Nordisk.