The Beat Goes On: Republicans are showing some apprehension that a southern regional "super primary" in 1988 could push the Democrats toward the political center and make them more competitive in the Sun Belt. And some potential Democratic presidential candidates, such as Sen. Gary Hart of Colorado, also are cool toward it.

But a lot of southern Democrats think it's an idea whose time has come, and Florida Gov. Bob Graham and a number of southern legislative leaders will make a progress report on the subject at breakfast at the National Press Club here Friday. Graham will be accompanied by Texas House Speaker Gib Lewis, Texas state Sen. John Traeger, chairman of the Southern Legislative Conference, Tennessee Deputy House Speaker John Bragg and North Carolina state Sen. Anthony Rand.

A recent Bailey poll in Oklahoma showed a 51 to 29 percent majority favoring the "super primary" and a majority, 67 to 14 percent, in favor of changing the state's presidential delegate caucuses to a primary. In Arkansas, a new Bailey poll shows a 40 to 35 percent plurality for the regional primary and a whopping 70 to 13 percent in favor of switching from caucuses to a primary.