President Barack Obama’s visit to Los Angeles yesterday in support of Senator Barbara Boxer’s re-election bid is another sign that Boxer is in trouble – or that Obama has learned a lesson not to take an election for granted. His last minute attempt to rescue Martha Coakley in the Massachusetts senate race to replace Ted Kennedy was too little, too late.

Will California be a replay of the Massachusetts election?

California politics has come to resemble Massachusetts politics over the years. The two states are not exactly mirror images of one another, granted; yet the similarities are noticeable. Both states have overwhelming Democratic legislatures and solid Democratic voter majorities. Both find themselves with growing independent voting blocks that often determine elections. California Republicans, as a whole, tend to be more conservative that Massachusetts Republicans.

However, let’s also note that the Proposition 13 tax revolt, which spread across the country, was almost immediately adopted in Massachusetts. The Bay State version, Proposition 2 ½, also limited property taxes. Like Proposition 13, despite constant attacks, the public in the blue state of Massachusetts holds the property tax limitation favorably even after three decades.

So, can a Republican pull off a Scott Brown repeat performance in California? The president obviously thinks so. Barbara Boxer has made it clear she is taking nothing for granted.

Brown, if he were running in California, would probably reflect the politics of Tom Campbell more closely than any of the three Republican senatorial opponents. That could bode well for Campbell if he gets through the primary.

But as noted above, one clear political difference between Massachusetts and California is the make up of Republican voters. Campbell may well be able to appeal to independents. Will they turn out in the primary and make a difference?

Here is where the strategy in the governor’s race could come to Campbell’s aid. Independents can vote in either primary election. Since the big contested primaries are on the Republican side this year, there is a lure for independents to seek Republican ballots. There is no doubt Meg Whitman intends to spend some of her ample campaign treasury in reaching out to independents. The strategy would be to capture the independent voters in the primary and hold them through the general election.

If Campbell indeed has the profile that appeals to independent voters, a surge of independent voters in the Republican primary could push Campbell across the finish line in a close senate race.