"My campaign is alive and well and thriving, particularly in the two places that make the most difference first -- Iowa and New Hampshire," long-shot Republican presidential candidate Pierre S. (Pete) du Pont IV declared last week.

The former Delaware governor told reporters that his controversial program to phase out farm subsidies over five years is "playing in Iowa." While "we've been raising subsidies," he said, "14,000 Iowa farmers have gone under in the last year. George {Bush} and Jack {Kemp} and Bob {Dole} have done it. It's time to end this policy and get back to the marketplace. And that makes for a pretty good campaign in Iowa and New Hampshire."

Maybe so. In New Hampshire, Nackey Loeb, publisher of the Manchester Union Leader, called du Pont "a genuine conservative" in a signed editorial and told readers "to take a good look at Pete du Pont and listen to what he is saying."

Despite du Pont's good feelings about his progress, a Gallup poll released today showed him at 3 percent in the GOP race. Du Pont acknowledged, "I have to beat somebody -- Kemp, Dole, Bush -- to show that my ideas are taking hold."

While du Pont was getting a boost from the Union Leader, Jack Kemp got one from North Carolina conservatives. The Congressional Club, established by Sen. Jesse Helms to aid conservative candidates, endorsed Kemp on Friday, providing him with an organizational and financial network. Next to Helms, whom the club could not persuade to run, "Kemp is closest to our philosophy," executive director Carter Wrenn said.