Recent literature suggests that citizens in emergent democracies distinguish between support for the government and support for democracy. Analysing this claim for Asia’s democratising nations of Taiwan, Thailand, South Korea and the Philippines reveals findings that help us understand democratic development. Firstly, it’s not surprising that government approval is found to be linked to economic performance across all these nations. When it comes to winning votes, it’s the economy, stupid. But secondly, and more interestingly, economic performance does not correlate with democratic support. When it comes to democracy itself, political trust outweighs economic conditions. The key to democratic development, then, lies in political trust.