The Washington Post and ABC News are merging their polling operations to form a new Washington Post-ABC poll, it was announced yesterday.

Under the arrangement, the newspaper and the television network will conduct at least 10 in-depth national telephone polls a year aimed at examining attitudes toward matters that are important in American life. In addition, The Post and ABC will conduct occasional spot polls on breaking news events as they occur.

Post Executive Editor Benjamin C. Bradlee said the merger would allow the newspaper to substantially increase the number of polls it runs. "It will give us a chance to make public opinion that much more an important part of our news coverage," Bradlee said.

Roone Arledge, the president of ABC News, said that a planned combination of polling and in-depth reporting, an integral feature of the new poll, "is what will set this effort apart from existing polls."

The new poll will be jointly administered by Barry Sussman, who has been conducting The Washington Post Poll since 1975, and by Jeff Alderman of the ABC News political unit. Alderman supervised ABC election exit polls during last year's presidential campaign. Interviewing for the poll will be conducted by Chilton Research Services of Radnor, Pa. f