The expansion of democracy in the world has been paradoxically accompanied by a decline of political trust. By looking at the trends in political trust in new and stable democracies over the last 20 years, and their possible determinants, we claim that an observable decline in trust reflects the post-honeymoon disillusionment rather than the emergence of a more critical citizenry. However, the first new democracies of the ‘third wave’ show a significant reemergence of political trust after democratic consolidation. Using data from the World Values Survey and the European Values Survey, we develop a multivariate model of political trust. Our findings indicate that political trust is positively related to well-being, social capital, democratic attitudes, political interest, and external efficacy, suggesting that trust responds to government performance. However, political trust is generally hindered by corruption permissiveness, political radicalism and postmaterialism. We identify differences by region and type of society in these relationships, and discuss the methodological problems inherent to the ambiguities in the concept of political trust.