Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts holds a wide 44-to-20-percent lead over President Carter as the top choice of the nation's Democratic voters for the 1980 presidential nomination.

Next on the latest list submitted to a cross-section of the nation's Democrats is Gov. Edmund G. (Jerry) Brown Jr. of California with 11 percent of the vote. He is followed by Vice President Mondale with 5 percent, Sen. Henry M. Jackson of Washington with 4 percent. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York, Rep. Morris K. Udall of Arizona and Sen. Frank Church of Idaho each receive less than 4 percent.

Kennedy leads Carter in the president's native South by as wide a margin as he does outside the South.

In earlier survey (late March-early April), Kennedy and Carter were in closer contention, 36 to 29 percent nationwide, but the earlier survey results are not directly comparable because the list did not include the names of McGovern, Moynihanand Church. The latest results, however, would certainly seem to indicate a decisive gain for Kennedy over Carter.

On the Republican side, former President Gerald R. Ford leads former California governor Ronald Regan by 37 to 31 percent, closely matching findings from an earlier survey conducted in late March and early April.

Receiving third greatest number of votes from Republicans is Sen. Howard Baker of Tennessee with 9 percent of the vote. He is followed by John Connally woth 5 percent, Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas with 4 percent, Elliot Richardson with 3 percent, Gov. James Thompson of Illinois with 2 percent, and George Bush with less than 1 percent.

In assessing the relative strength of both Republican and Democrats tested, it is important to bear in mind that name recognition is a key factor. For example, Richardson, Bush and Thompson are each known by fewer than half of the Republicans nationwide.

Following is the question asked to determine current choices of Democrats surveyed:

Here is a list of people who have been mentioned as possible presidential candidates for the Democratic Party in 1980. (Respondents were handed a card with nine names listed). Which one would you like to see nominated as the Democratic candidate for President in 1980?

Kennedy 44%

Carter 20

Brown 11

Mondale 5

McGovern 4

Jackson 4

Moynihan 3

Udall 1

Church 1

Undecided 9

The results reported above are based on in-person interviews with 751 Democrats out of a total sample of 1,555 adults, 18 and older, in more than 300 localities during the period July 7-10.

The following table shows the results from the earlier test, conducted in late March and early April:

Kennedy 36%

Carter 20

Brown 12

Mondale 8

Jackson 5

Udall 3

Undecided 7

Followingis the question asked of Republicans in the latest survey, and the findings:

Here is a list of people who have been mentioned as possible presidential candidates for the Republican Party in 1980. (Respondents were handed a card with eight names.) Which one would you like to see nominated as the Republican candidate for president?

Ford 37%

Reagan 31

Baker 9

Connally 5

Dole 4

Richardson 3

Thompson 2

Bush less than 1

Undecided 9

The results reported above are based on in-person interviews with 358 Republicans out of a total sample of 1,555 adults, 18 and older, in more than 300 localities during the period July 7-10. Interviewing was conducted before the announcement by Rep. Philip Crane of Illinois of his candidacy for the presidency.

The following table shows the results from the earlier test, conducted in late March and early April:

Ford 40%

Reagan 30

Baker 11

Richardson 4

Dole 4

Connally 4

Undecided 7