This article uses a 1999 six-city survey of Chinese urban residents, along with several earlier public opinion surveys, in order to compare views on regime legitimacy between Deng and post-Deng eras. Posing the broad question of whether China's regime is seen to be in crisis or increasing stability, the author analyses data to measure public opinion in the areas of reform satisfaction, political support and political efficacy. The data reveals elements of both scenarios, possibly suggesting that the leadership was doing a good job at deepening economic reforms while successfully silencing public dissatisfaction at both the pace and content of market reform policies. Unlike in 1989, when urban residents took their issues to the street, in 1999 they became more politically conservative, even when dissatisfied with reform. Together with their heavy-handed control, the post-Deng leaders seemed to be successful in consolidating political power, using nationalism as an appeal while pushing for further market reform.