Across Southeast Asia, election promises commonly centre on preferential access to state resources, rather than on policy platforms. In Cambodia, gift-giving practices have been a key strategy for the dominant Cambodian People’s Party to seek electoral support. The surge in support for opposition CNRP in the 2013 elections, campaigning on an anti-money politics agenda, raises questions about popular perceptions of political gift-giving. Building on interviews with pro-CNRP demonstrators in post-election Cambodia, this paper asks how the 2013 electoral outcome relates to transforming popular values by exploring CNRP activists’ narratives about who they are, the main problems facing today’s Cambodia, gift-giving practices and rights. It employs these findings to reassess Cambodian popular electoral culture, and reframe running debates about the relations between states and populations seeking to access their resources in the region.