The battle to win the Southern primaries on March 13 has become a battle of word vs. organization. Walter Mondale, by most accounts, has the best organization.
Gary Hart is counting mostly on words. So is Jesse Jackson.
John Glenn has some organization, but was losing ground in the South even before the New Hampshire primary. And though he ''looks good on paper,'' he tends to ''lose the audience'' in all but small gatherings, says one former supporter here.
It remains to be seen whether Senator Glenn's candidacy, which he offers as being more conservative than Mr. Mondale's, can catch fire at this late date in the very conservative South. There have been some surprises in the campaign; there could be more.
As for Gary Hart's organization in Florida, the state with the most votes in the Super Tuesday primaries March 13, most of it can be seen in the one-room office of a young state legislator here, Michael Abrams.
''If there's an opportunity here (in Florida), I think we should take advantage of it,'' he says, looking up from a desk cluttered with messages of calls to return to Hart supporters, whose numbers surged after the New Hampshire victory.
But Representative Abrams, Senator Hart's Florida chairman, is practically on his own here.
He began the two-week interlude between New Hampshire and Super Tuesday with no paid campaign staff, hardly any donations, and a handful of lined index cards with the names of probable supporters in various parts of the state. The day after Hart's New Hampshire upset, someone called from northern Florida saying she was a Hart campaigner, but he had never heard of the person.
But there was a flood of calls and visits to Abrams from the press.
When Mr. Mondale issued a shrewd televised challenge to Hart to challenge him in all three Southern states - Alabama, Georgia, and Florida - Hart answered in a televised campaign appearance in Tallahassee, Fla.: ''Walter, here I am.''