MONTGOMERY, ALA. -- Key southern Republicans meeting over the weekend here said they would portray the Democratic nomination contest as a choice limited to white liberals and a black in an attempt to persuade white Democrats to vote in GOP primaries on March 8 "Super Tuesday."

Two central elements of the GOP strategy are to promote the likelihood that Jesse L. Jackson will win Democratic contests and to attack the moderate-centrist credentials of Sen. Albert Gore Jr. (D-Tenn).

"Most voters will decide to vote March 8 for the candidate they want as the next president" instead of casting a ballot out of party loyalty, said Haley Barbour, the Mississippi Republican national committeeman coordinating the GOP's "southern primary project." The key step in this process, he said, will be to persuade voters that "there will be a liberal primary {the Democrats} and a conservative primary {the Republicans}."

In the drive to expand Republican turnout on Super Tuesday, "what {Republicans} are basically doing is depleting the Democratic primary of conservative whites," said Marty Connors, head of the Southern Republican Exchange, an organization of state and local GOP officials from every southern state, which is meeting here.

In states with large black populations, such as Alabama, Mississippi, and South Carolina, the result is that Democrats will nominate "a liberal, and in this case the most liberal is Jesse Jackson . . . . It's really mathematics," he said.

Montgomery Mayor Emory Folmar, a conservative, said, smiling, "I think very highly of Jesse Jackson. I think he represents the Democratic Party in Alabama very well."

Super Tuesday, when an unprecedented 20 states will hold primaries and caucuses, was created by moderate and conservative southern Democrats seeking to push their party to the right. Republicans, however, are trying to subvert the Democrats' aims, using the event to build the ascendant southern GOP and to push the Democratic Party to the left.

Barbour has been coordinating the project, which will target the eight "open" southern states in which there is no party registration and voters are free to vote in either party primary. The states are Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

"Every vote in our primary pushes their {the Democrats'} primary that much farther to the left," Barbour declared in a speech to the Southern Republican Exchange. "It will be a very stark demonstration to the people that the same people run the Democratic Party in Alabama as run it in New York."

Part of the drive to persuade southern whites that the Democratic field is exclusively liberal is a full-scale assault on Gore. He has been conducting his own "southern strategy," promoting himself as the most pro-defense Democratic candidate, winning endorsements from a long list of moderate to conservative southern Democrats.

Republicans, seeking to pull in conservatives, clearly want to gut Gore's strategy. "Gary Hart is not running the most fraudulent campaign -- Albert Gore is," Barbour said. "Albert Gore is a liberal. The American Conservative Union said Albert Gore's voting record is more liberal than {Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Edward M.} Kennedy's . . . . The fact is, Albert Gore votes like Teddy Kennedy and then comes down here and talks like {former Tennessee Republican senator} Howard Baker."

In 1985, the ACU ranked Gore 8 percentage points more conservative than Kennedy; the next year, Kennedy was ranked one point more conservative than Gore.

Traditionally, participation in Republican primaries in the South has been a tiny fraction of Democratic turnout. Republicans noted, however, that in the 1980 presidential primaries in Georgia and Alabama, when like this year both parties had nomination fights and voters were free to choose either party, Republican turnout was heavy.

At the moment, the strongest drive to build GOP turnout is taking place in Texas, where party officials are using voter files and phone bank information to target direct mail drives on 400,000 voters who backed both President Reagan and Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Tex.) but who have not voted in GOP primaries.

Depending on finances, other southern Republican parties intend to target similar groups of voters who are called "behavioral Republican Democrats." Chris Henick, southern political director for the RNC, said the committee will supply local parties with target lists of voters.

Barbour said if the GOP can draw three votes for every five going to the Democratic primaries in the "open" southern states, "the Democratic Party as my father knew it will be annihilated."

A number of polls suggest that Barbour's goal may not be unrealistic. Democratic pollster Harrison Hickman said that in Mississippi, voters initially indicated a strong preference -- 75 percent -- to vote in the Democratic primary. But when the voters were given the names of the candidates expected to run in the Democratic and Republican primaries, they split evenly between choosing the Democratic and Republican primaries.

Merle Black, a political scientist at the University of North Carolina, said that Democratic primary turnout in the South has nosedived from 22 percent of the voting-age population in 1972 -- when former Alabama governor George C. Wallace last was an active contender -- to 13.9 percent in 1984.

Wallace, who ran as a combination populist and opponent of civil rights, "took with him hundreds of thousands of working class whites who saw him as their leader," Black noted.