MANCHESTER, N.H., OCT. 2 -- In this state considered essential to his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, Gov. Michael S. Dukakis has not been significantly damaged by the "attack videotape" controversy that forced the resignations of two top aides.

The first public poll since Wednesday's disclosures showed Dukakis has dropped five points in the past week, but still leads his closest challenger, Sen. Paul Simon (D-Ill.) 46 percent to 7 percent, with no one else garnering more than 5 percent.

Interviews with party leaders, activists and voters show that they generally have formed strong opinions of the neighboring governor who is regularly on local news programs and who has been a major factor in such New Hampshire issues as the Seabrook nuclear power plant. Their views, from hostile to positive, remain largely unchanged after they learned that top Dukakis aides had distributed a videotape that led to the withdrawal of Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) from the presidential race.

"I've been in these political wars since 1944," said Henry Magdziasz, Democratic chairman of the working-class 10th Ward Democratic organization here. "I don't think this will hurt him one bit." Magdziasz, who said he will stay neutral next January, commented, however, that Dukakis has "done a lot for us in New Hampshire. I'm 100 percent against the taxpayers paying one cent for Seabrook."

Bryan Lambert, a Democratic voter from Raymond, N.H., who liked both Biden and former senator Gary Hart (D-Colo.), said he used to live in Massachusetts and "all Dukakis ever did was to raise taxes and surround himself with state police . . . . I was a bit surprised when I first heard it, but that's politics. I think he handled it just fine."

"Mike Dukakis is a known product in New Hampshire: People either know him and like him or know him and don't like him," said J. Joseph Grandmaison, chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party.

Interviews with 35 voters here and in three other southeastern New Hampshire cities found few shifting: 12 were inclined to support Dukakis and are unchanged, 10 were never for him but tend to defend or minimize his handling of the incident, four were never for him but criticized his handling of the tape controversy, eight had paid little attention and one said he is now less inclined to back Dukakis.

"It certainly didn't attract me to his campaign," Robert N. Arthier, executive vice president of the New Hampshire Realtors Association, said, in the only example of a voter who asserted he was neutral and is now less inclined to support Dukakis.

In the contest for the Democratic nomination, New Hampshire is considered a must-win for Dukakis, who is far better known here than any of his competitors. If Dukakis' support here had fallen significantly, it would have been a potentially fatal blow to his candidacy.

While Dukakis may not have been badly wounded here, the intense coverage of the leaked tape and the resignations of John Sasso, the campaign manager, and political director Paul Tully, have slowed Dukakis' momentum.

"I don't think it's a mortal blow, but it's very disappointing," said Lou D'Allesandro, a former state representative. "It's something he can live through. It's not devastating, but it's a pitfall."

The one group of Democratic activists angered by the events of this week was made up of Biden supporters. "For those of us who had him {Dukakis} next on their lists, he certainly dropped down a few spots," Ed Theobald, a member of the Democratic National Committee and a Biden backer, said.

Bill Cashin, a Manchester Democratic alderman, said: "In the long run, it's going to help Dukakis. To do what he did {in allowing Sasso to leave} had to hurt him personally, but he did it. He showed he is a man qualified to be president."

Jeff Landroche, a Portsmouth recording engineer who supports Dukakis because of his strong opposition to Seabrook, said: "I feel bad for the man. This was probably unavoidable. It could have happened to anyone, and I admire the way he handled it."

Even if few people had shifted, there were some indications of damage. A poll Thursday night of 300 likely Democratic primary voters who were aware of the incident showed 19 percent less likely to vote for Dukakis, 3 percent more likely and 73 percent saying the incident has made no difference. The poll was taken by WBZ-TV and the Boston Herald.

Many of the critical comments heard by Washington Post reporters came from people like Mary Copithorne, of Exeter, a Simon supporter who said Dukakis' behavior was "too much like Ronald Reagan. He was not in charge . . . . He seemed to hesitate and deny, and that's very familiar."

The conservative Manchester Union Leader, a powerful newspaper that has consistently opposed Dukakis, suggested on its editorial pages that Dukakis has not told the whole truth:

"The electorate is being asked to believe that Dukakis had no knowledge of, and indeed was grievously offended by, Sasso's distribution of the {tape} . . . . Dukakis {is} asking a lot of public credulity."