A list of some prominent pollsters - and some distinctions among them

Some 200 to 300 companies are involved in opinion research in the United States today. Most concentrate on the huge market for product-related surveys - ranging from consumer preferences on packaging and taste to the public's attitude toward whole industries.

The best-known polls, however, are those that publish findings about issues and politics. These are known as ''public'' polls. Some organizations, such as Roper, Gallup, and Harris, do a substantial amount of market research as well. But their reputations rest largely on their political work. The ''public'' polls include those run by major news organizations.

''Private'' pollsters work for a particular candidate or political party. They are increasingly prominent figures in American politics. Most are closely identified with one of the major parties, and some have close ties to a single candidate.

Major ''public'' polling organizations

Bureau of Social Science Research Inc. (Washington)

Louis Harris & Associates (New York)

National Opinion Research Center, University of Chicago

Opinion Research Corporation (Princeton, N.J.)

Penn + Schoen Associates (New York)

Survey Research Center, University of Michigan

The Gallup Poll (Princeton, N.J.)

The Roper Organization (New York)

Yankelovich, Skelly & White (New York)

ABC/Washington Post Poll

CBS/New York Times Poll

Los Angeles Times Poll

NBC Poll

Some prominent ''private'' pollsters


Peter Hart (Walter Mondale's pollster - based in Washington)

Dottie Lynch (Gary Hart's pollster - Washington)

William R. Hamilton (John Glenn's pollster - Washington)

Patrick Caddell (Washington)


Richard Wirthlin of Decision Making Information (Presi dent Reagan's pollster - Washington, Los Angeles)

Robert Teeter of Market Opinion Research (Ann Arbor, Mich.)

Lance Tarrance (Houston)

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.