SHARON PRATT Dixon's intelligence, strength and sound political instincts have outlasted her Democratic primary victory in September and have been shown just as clearly in her contest with her Republican opponent, Maurice Turner. The campaign between Mrs. Dixon and former chief Turner has reinforced our view that Mrs. Dixon is the right choice for mayor. She deserves election on Nov. 6.

Since the primary, Mrs. Dixon has taken her campaign to all parts of this city, repeating and expanding on those themes that originated with her and that struck a chord with the voters. Chief Turner, a recent convert to his party, has echoed some of this while, oddly, at the same time deriding it, and he has offered few new ideas of his own for solving the city's daunting problems. Mrs. Dixon speaks, we think, more plausibly than Maurice Turner and with more understanding on the huge financial problem confronting the city. She remains determined to clean house and reduce the bloated bureaucracy, and she is right not to back down at all the talk about how this can't be done or the taunts from the Barry administration and Chief Turner about how hard it will be to decide which particular bureaucrats should get the ax. Both the timetable she has laid out and the goals she has espoused seem sound to us. Her primary victory has already brought forth congressional pledges of a stronger, new and, we hope, more respectful relationship with the District.

Maurice Turner has put in a lifetime of public service as a police officer, for which he should have the city's gratitude. He personifies the warm, decent, yet tough officer who can be counted on to be there in a tight spot. Looking past the record homicides and drug epidemic that exploded on his watch, his advisers from the Republican National Committee have apparently counted on that image to work with District voters as well. Mr. Turner suggests that Mayor Barry stymied his efforts to strengthen the force. One special point: his frequent use of divisive class rhetoric is unworthy of him. Both he and Sharon Dixon are third-generation Washingtonians, born on the same side of the street into families with similar values -- and he knows it.

The Turner campaign has been largely reactive in its politics and confusing in its programmatic aspects. Issues, ideas and solutions are what the voters are crying out for this year, and Sharon Dixon, not Maurice Turner, has responded. She should be elected. With her, after all the terrible troubles of the recent past, the city has another chance.