DES MOINES, FEB. 9 -- Victory in the caucuses here effectively assures that Sen. Robert J. Dole (R-Kan.) and Rep. Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.) will remain competitors through "Super Tuesday," March 8, but both candidates face tremendous organizational hurdles in the key southern states dominating what will be the largest primary in the nation's history.

Dole is looking at a southern Republican establishment that is at the moment under the control of Vice President Bush, and he must cope with severe internal campaign problems. Numerous sources say his national political director, Norman (Skip) Watts, has been feuding with his southern chairman, Pat Brock. In addition, the Dole leadership structure in the key state of Texas has been consumed by a minor scandal involving bogus petitions to get on the ballot.

Organizers of the Bush campaign contend that their virtual lock on prestigious endorsements in the South has created a "fire wall" to control a Dole challenge. Bill Lacy, a Dole campaign vice chairman, countered: "If someone catches fire, no matter what kind of fire wall you have built, you can't stop them."

Gephardt, in turn, had originally been campaigning hard in the South but, when his poll numbers began to drop at the end of last year, he effectively abandoned every state in the nation except Iowa.

As a result, he must rebuild a torn-down structure in the South and deal with the resentments of local supporters there who felt abandoned by his abrupt departure. One of his first steps will be to send several dozen of his congressional supporters home to their southern districts to make the Gephardt case.

The Iowa success of Gephardt, who has shown some ability to obtain backing from moderate white southerners, was perhaps the worst possible outcome for Sen. Albert Gore Jr. (D-Tenn), who had ducked the Iowa caucuses hoping to establish his presidential candidacy in the South on March 8. William Carrick, Gephardt's manager, seemed to relish taking Gore on, using exceptionally harsh language:

"I can't wait. It's blood lust. Let me at him. I hate him. I hate all of them. I think they are the phoniest two-bit bastards that ever came down the pike, starting with Al Gore, moving through boy wonder ex-wordsmith, the mosquito who roared {Fred Martin, Gore's manager}. They are just a {expletive} bunch of meddlesome bastards."

Martin, Gore's manager, contended: "The Iowa caucus is not as significant as it used to be . . . . This is a new ball game with Super Tuesday. Whatever new life may be breathed into the {Gephardt} candidacy may be sucked back out in New Hampshire." The Gore campaign is not making a strong effort in New Hampshire, either.

Carrick argued that Gephardt's antiestablishment, populist message is easily transferable to the South, a region that has taken as tough economic and other blows as Iowa. He pointed out that in Iowa, Gephardt's strength was among "blue-collar, older rural, union households, senior citizens." The rural South, he said, is "where the white Democratic voters are."

For Dole, the South presents a different set of problems, the most important of which is that the campaign has not been organizing effectively in the region. "There really hasn't been much of a campaign in the South. The campaign begins today," said Lacy, whose principal assignment will be the South for the next month.

While Robertson has been organizing evangelical Christians and Bush has been organizing the establishment wing of the southern GOP, Dole's success in the region was somewhat limited before his Iowa victory.

His wife's roots in North Carolina have given him a strong base in that key state, and he has done relatively well attacking former Democratic businessmen and politicians in several southern states. Elizabeth Hanford Dole has been campaigning in the South as much or more than her husband.

William E. Brock, Dole's manager, said his brother, Pat Brock, is running the South with full autonomy. Asked about conflicts between Pat Brock and Watts, he said "I don't think it makes much difference," because Watts does not have southern jurisdiction.

Although the Dole campaign claims that he is more attractive to Democratic voters than Bush, in many sections of the South where Democrats are allowed to cross over to the GOP primary, the Dole campaign is almost nonexistent. The GOP chairman of Bowie County in East Texas -- fertile terrain for appeals to conservative Democrats -- said, for example, that no one from the Dole campaign had even contacted him.

While the Bush forces contend that organization is more important in the South than in northern states because of the small GOP turnout in primaries, Lacy argued that all organization can do is "reinforce the message and all the rest that takes place in a campaign."

Dole, who has been running 20 to 30 points behind Bush in southern polls, faces what Lacy called a "lack of image depth. People don't know what he's been through in his life."

A major test for Dole will come in South Carolina, where Robertson is now saying he will win. This also is the native state of Lee Atwater, Bush's campaign manager, who has signed up nearly every ranking Republican in the state for the vice president. And because of its place on the calendar -- three days before Super Tuesday -- the outcome could have a major impact in the southern states contests that follow.