Political leaders from 15 southern states have unanimously approved a plan to coordinate presidential primaries and caucuses to give the area more clout in picking nominees for president in 1988.

"We're the ones who will be creating the waves instead of some of our smaller northern and midwestern brothers," Democratic state Sen. John Traeger of Texas said after the vote.

The Southern Legislative Conference, made up of leaders of 15 state legislatures, voted to hold presidential primaries, caucuses and delegate-selecting conventions in the second week of March 1988.

Although the action is not binding, legislators from all 15 states said that they would seek necessary changes in election laws and that in every state they had bipartisan support of key political leaders.

Under the resolution, the 1988 primaries, caucuses and conventions would be held Tuesday, March 8, 1988, or on the following Saturday, March 12.

The plan would cover Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

If they all adopt the same dates, nearly one-third of the delegates for both the Democratic and Republican conventions would be picked in the South in a five-day period, presumably forcing candidates in both parties to drastically revise their strategies and priorities for all-important early momentum.