Objectives. This study examines the impact of competitiveness, winning, and ideological congruence on evaluations of democratic principles, institutions, and performance. We posit that winning matters most. Individuals will hold favorable views toward democracy when it produces the outcomes they desire, independent of other contextual factors associated with elections.

Methods. We use cross-sectional multiple regression models to analyze survey data from Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Results. We find that the psychological effect of being an election winner at the national level greatly boosts evaluations of democracy, as measured with a host of different indicators, while competitiveness and congruence do not systematically affect these evaluations.

Conclusions. This study sheds light on what factors boost regime support among the populace by sorting out the relative impact of being in a competitive district, winning (at the local and national level), and having a representative with a similar ideological outlook.