King-Sized in Kingfish Land: Lots of things are king-sized in the land of the Kingfish, and there's a possibility that in November Louisiana may have the biggest presidential straw poll in history.
It is bound to increase the intensity of campaigning in that state by the Democratic presidential candidates, and it could have a psychological impact well beyond that of the traditional state party convention straw polls, one that could rival that of the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary.
A bill to abolish the state's presidential primary has passed the lower house of the Louisana Legislature and is waiting action in the state senate. If it is approved there, as expected, a bill has been filed to conduct a non-binding, all-party presidential preference vote as part of the Nov. 19 gubernatorial election.
Almost 1.4 million people voted in the last Louisiana gubernatorial election.
This year's race will pit incumbent Republican Gov. David C. Treen against former Democratic governor Edwin B. Edwards. The presidential "beauty contest" will alter the campaign plans of the presidential candidates.
"We would probably participate . . . . I think it would be important for all candidates to participate," said Walter F. Mondale's campaign manager, Robert G. Beckel.
"But we would be concerned if the rules allowed Republicans to participate in a Democratic presidential preference vote."