The poll, conducted in June with a sample base of 3300 Arabs in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, found US foreign policy was primarily to blame.

"Why do they hate us? It's the policy," said James Zogby, president of the Arab-American Institute.

"We have seen an unfortunate evolution since 2002," said pollster John Zogby, James Zogby's brother. "They still detest policy but the numbers ... of Arabs and Muslims who view American features and people favourably are certainly down from what it was in 2002."

Dim view

US policy on Iraq, "terrorism", Arabs and Palestine drew extremely low ratings, while Arab attitudes towards US science and technology, freedom and democracy, people, movies, television, products and education fared somewhat better.

Ratings of the US have dropped from 38% favourable to 11% favourable in Morocco from 2002 to 2004.

The drop in Saudi Arabia was from 12% to 4%; in Jordan from 34% to 15%, in Lebanon from 26% to 20% and in Egypt from 15% to 2%.

Only in the United Arab Emirates did the favourable rating rise from 11% to 14%.

When asked what they considered the best thing about the US, high percentages of respondents in all six countries said "nothing".

The poll's error margin varied from plus or minus 3.8% to 5% points, depending on the country polled.