Gazetting and maintaining protected areas (PAs) are political processes and, as such, depend on wider society’s support in order to achieve their aims. In this paper, we evaluated the influence of gender, education, age, income, place of origin and place of residence on public support for PAs in the Brazilian state of Amapá, a new tropical forest frontier. We gathered 615 complete interviews with adults living in both rural and urban settings. We found that most (90.5%) of the participants support PAs and that this attitude is more likely to exist among urban than rural participants. We found that gender, education, age, income and place of origin did not influence support for PAs. Biodiversity conservation is the most common reason why PAs receive public support. In contrast, participants who do not favour PAs see them as providing no benefit to people. We suggest that support by local political leaders from dominant and rival political parties for conservation helps to promote acceptance of PAs by stakeholders. However, relatively low support for PAs among rural participants could indicate that the expectations of these populations regarding the social benefits associated with this conservation policy have yet to be fulfilled.