Chase Manhattan Bank Chairman David Rockefeller and Paul A. Volcker, president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, have emerged as leading prospects for the chairmanship of the Federal Reserve Board, according to reports circulating in New York and Washington.

Another possibility being considered seriously by President Carter is Bruce McLaury, president of the Brookings Institution in Washington. Both Volcker and McLaury were considered for the job last year, before G. William Miller was appointed. Miller has been nominated as secretary of the treasury in place of W. Michael Blumenthal.

Another commerical bank president who is on a list of possible appointees to the Fed chairmanship is Robert Abboud, of the First National Bank of Chicago.

According to a Dow Jones report, another prospect is Bank of America head A.W. Clausen. But Washington sources indicate that Clausen -- often approached by the Carter administration -- once again had turned the president down.

An economist whose advice on the Fed chairmanship has been solicited by the White House cautioned that "a dark horse" may get the chairmanship of the central bank. But at a news conference yesterday, Miller suggested that market confidence requires that the new chairman not be as relatively unknown as Miller was last year.