A new poll by WRC-TV and The Associated Press shows Mayor Marion Barry slightly ahead of lawyer Patricia Roberts Harris in the Sept. 14 Democratic primary for mayor. Barry leads Harris by 40 to 36 percent, according to the poll, which was released yesterday.

The two other major candidates, council members Charlene Drew Jarvis (D-Ward 4) and John Ray (D-At large), were far behind, each with support from 5 percent of the voters questioned. The poll was based on interviews of 429 likely voters and had a possible error rate of 6 percent.

A recent Washington Post poll showed Barry leading Harris by 45 to 32 percent. The WRC-TV/AP poll was completed last Wednesday.

A Barry spokeswoman said the mayor would have no comment. A Harris spokeswoman said the poll confirms that Harris is in a tight, two-way race with Barry.

John Ray was not available for comment. Jarvis said: "All I want to say about these polls is that the world went to bed thinking 1948 Republican presidential candidate Thomas Dewey was president."

In the race for City Council chairman, the WRC-TV/AP poll shows former chairman Sterling Tucker leading the current council chairman, Arrington Dixon, by 33 to 27 percent. Ward 1 council member David Clarke had 15 percent.