The author describes public opinion surveys (and election polls) as the specific type of market research in Poland. He concentrates on the historical aspects of polls related to the development of surveys and polls in Poland (in the democratic and previous 'socialist' reality) and in the world (mainly in the USA). Evolution of the civic society and the social awareness started the evolution of such researches.They meet the specific need of the society to collect information on society itself. The years of communism in Poland deformed surveys and polls as well as the public opinion about them. It is visible in the faulty polls and society's failure to protest against them. The instance of The Gallup Organization in the United States of America described in the article shows, that it is possible to reduce the mistakes by drawing conclusions from the negative past examples.