Asked to compare last month's Democratic extravaganza here with this week's Republican convention in Dallas, cable car gripmen Dwayne Price and Sam Walker unleashed hoots of chauvinistic laughter. There's no show on earth like San Francisco, they say.
But asked about the politics of this convention season, the two men, both black, offered serious opinions between lunges on the brakes and grips of their cable car.
''Honesty is the difference (between the parties),'' said Mr. Price, calling Republican convention rhetoric a ''dirty trick. To tell how he (Reagan) has helped the poor people is just not true.''
Mr. Walker chimed in, ''He created a recession on entering office, with major cutbacks. People lost their homes and jobs. They say people are back at work, but they're sending people back to work at low wages, and that's not any better than four years ago.''
Neither of the conventions snared the interest of a financial district secretary, who said they ''are so much a show, so much rhetoric that it all seems like a movie.''
''It's been a ho-hum week down there (in Dallas),'' said Bob Schreiber, a field support manager with an electronics company. The ''entertainment value'' of the Democratic convention was strong, with the charisma of Jesse Jackson and Mario Cuomo, he said, adding that no Republican so far has excited him.
But charisma he said, isn't enough to get his vote. Mr. Schreiber, whose company sells to defense contractors, said he and most of the people he associates with in the so-called Silicon Valley area south of San Francisco support Reagan and his strong stand on defense.