Several members of Congress, dissatisfied with the existing mixed system of primaries and caucuses and yet not prepared to endorse a national presidential primary, have come up with a compromise solution: regional primaries.
The American public, while interested in this "halfway house" proposal, is not as enthusiastic for regional primaries as a national primary. In 1984, for example, the Gallup Poll conducted a survey, asking the following question: "It has been suggested that four individual regional primaries be held in different weeks in June during presidential election years. Does this sound like a good idea or a poor idea?" The results are listed in Table 16.1
As indicated previously, a June 1984 Gallup poll showed that 67 percent of the responsible favored a national primary; 21 percent opposed the idea; and 12 percent were undecided.
The most widely publicized regional primary proposal is the Packwood plan, named after its sponsor, former Senator Robert Packwood (R-OR).
Under the Packwood plan the national nominating convention would be left intact, but a system of five regional primaries would be held, one a month from March to July. 1 The states would be grouped in clusters generally corresponding to the following geographical areas: the Northeast (ten states); the Midwest (six states); the South (nine states, plus the District of Columbia and three territories); the Great Plains (twelve states stretching from the Canadian border to the Gulf); and the Far West (thirteen states