Ward 3 City Council member Polly Shackleton, a long-time civic activist who is seeking reelection, has been by far the most successful money-raiser to date in the ward's City Council campaigns.

According to financial reports filed with the D.C. Board of Elections, Shackleton has raised $5,355 from 52 contributors, including 33 who donated $100 or more. She has spent $2,165, mostly on her petition drive in which she gathered more than 4,000 signatures.

Attorney Joel D. Joseph, Shackleton's only opponent in the Sept. 12 Democratic primary, reported receipts of $487, including $232 in loans from himself, and expenditures of $252.

The only Republican candidate, Alexander Cartner, has spent $237 - all of it his own money. Cartner, an IBM service representative, will be on the Republican ballot Sept. 12.

In the city's first home rule election four years ago, Shackleton encountered strong and well-financed opposition in the primary and general elections. She raised about $18,000 then, more than any ward candidate in the city.

This year, she said in a recent interview, she believes she already has enough money to take care of her entire campaign although "a few more contributions just might come in."

According to financial disclosure reports that candidates must make public, Shackleton has considerably more in assets and income than her opponents. In addition to her $27,000 salary as a council member, she reported receiving $23,207 from dividends, savings accounts and government bonds.

Shackleton said she has no liabilities and has assets of $605,500. Her assets include a half-interest in her Georgetown home, assessed at $169,000, and the value of four trust funds set up by her father, Adolph Ehrlich, the president of a Boston department store.

Joseph, in his financial statement, reports an income of $15,125 from his law practice, $137 in stock dividends and gifts last year of $6,000 from his parents.

Joseph's assets total $275,000, including his home, valued at $150,000, and $100,000 in Converter Corporation of America stock. Liabilities listed by Joseph total $45,500.

In his financial statement, Cartner listed income last year of $15,494 from his job with IBM, household objects worth $2,500 and no other assets or liabilities.

Shackleton's list of campaign contributors reflects both her friendships and her record on the council. The largest contribution, $250, comes from the Washington Teachers Union, which Shackleton has supported on its pay requests - usually the same as increased given to federal workers.

She also received $200 from the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, a homosexual group that has praised Shackleton for her support of the District's strong "gay rights" law. After referendum votes repealed similar laws in Miami and Minneapolis, homosexual organizations here have pushed for council action to make the D.C. measure exempt from a referendum. Shackleton has favored the move to bar a referendum. Joseph said he is also against such a referendum. Cartner has taken no stand on the issue.

Among the largest individual contributors to Shackleton's campaign are former Supreme Court justice Abe Fortas and his wife Carolyn Agger, who are Georgetown neighbors of Shackleton. Fortas and Agger contributed $200 each.

Former D.C. City Council chairman John Hechinger and Nan Tucker McEvoy, a writer, also contributed $200 each to Shackleton's campaign.

Among the $100 contributors are Joseph Rauh Jr., a long-time leader of Americans For Democratic Action: Mr. Smith's an M Street bar, Alfred Friendly, a former managing editor of the The Washington Post; attorney Lloyd Symington; Dr. Belinda Straight; Nancy McElroy Folger, Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Pollak, and attorney Myer Feldman.

Shackleton reported a loan of $540 from her husband Robert, a retired employe of the U.S. Information Agency. The loan was repaid in June.

In addition to his own money, Joseph has received $100 from Sunsix Associates, of Asbury Par, N.J. The firm is owned by the parents of his wife, Arlene Singer, who serves as his campaign treasurer. Joseph has received six other contribution ranging from $5 to $50 each.

Almost all of Joseph's campaign expenditures have been for printing and mailing costs. Cartner has spent most of his money the same way.

Shackleton lists similar expenditures, although much larger ones. In addition, she paid $500 to Charles Clinton in "campaign consulting fees." Clinton served as her campaign manager for three months.