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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Despite Britney Spears' erratic behavior, most people think the troubled pop star should be allowed to see her two sons a few times a week under supervision while ex-husband Kevin Federline retains custody, according to an E-Poll/Reuters survey.
Spears, 26, lost custody of her children last year after a series of strange episodes in the wake of splitting from Federline including being photographed without underwear, shaving her head, and attacking a car with an umbrella.
She was barred from visiting her sons earlier this month after refusing to return the boys and being hospitalized for two days. She failed to make a custody hearing on Monday with another hearing scheduled for February 19.
Some people have written off the singer, with a survey by E-Poll Market Research (www.epollresearch.com), conducted for Reuters, finding 26 percent of those questioned believe she should not be allowed to see her children at all.
But the survey found some sympathy, with 51 percent of people said Spears should be allowed to visit 2-year-old Sean Preston and Jayden James, 1, a few times a week supervised.
Only 1 percent backed Spears getting full custody of the boys while the rest did not know or wanted unlimited visits.
But the overwhelming message from the survey of 1,941 American adults was that Spears needed to stop drinking and taking drugs, change her friends, and grow up. Others voiced opinion that she was suffering some mental illness.
"She needs to clean up her act and start acting like a responsible adult and mother and not like a spoiled brat," said one survey participant. "She will eventually be dead if she does not change her lifestyle."
The majority of people, or 62 percent, blamed alcohol and drugs for the downfall of Spears who was the world's top-selling female artist in the early 2000s.
Two out of 10, however, blamed the Hollywood environment while one in 10 thought her parents were at fault.
Opinion was divided when it came to the question of whether Spears could recover from this meltdown.
She enjoyed a brief comeback in October with her new single "Gimme More" and her first album in four years, "Blackout," which hit No. 2 on the U.S. pop album charts.
Two out 10 respondents thought Spears could restore her reputation with fans -- but two out of 10 did not think this was possible with men and younger fans less forgiving.
The survey found 45 percent said maybe she could recover while 11 percent did not know.
"Get help, get clean, start over. People root for the underdog so as long as she is trying she can come back," said one respondent.
Others weren't so sympathetic.
"Up until the children weren't taken care of, she had a chance to bounce back. I don't think there is anything she can do at this point," said another.
E-Poll Market Research provides consumer research for entertainment and media companies about celebrities, characters and brands using a proprietary research panel.
Editing by Jill Serjeant