This paper examines the determinants of cross-national differences in political satisfaction across established and new democracies. On the basis of directly comparable data from over twenty West and East European countries collected between 1993 and 1995, it investigates political culture and performance-based explanations of cross-national differences in support for the political system, and it compares the usefulness of these theories across both mature and emerging democratic systems. The analysis suggests that political culture and system performance both are associated with levels of satisfaction with the political system in older democracies. Moreover, it shows that the influence of political culture is weaker than indicators of current performance once alternative explanations are taken into account. In contrast, political satisfaction levels in emerging democracies are unrelated to political culture or system performance. Overall, the results indicate that the structure of democracy satisfaction is dis similar in old and new democratic systems.
Address all correspondence to : Center on Democratic Performance (CDP),Department of Political Science, Binghamton University, SUNY, Binghamton, NY 13902-6000, USA. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org