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(This article was first published on is.R(), and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

This Gist has a couple of things going on, I’ll just list them:

It downloads the entire history of U.S. House DW-NOMINATE scores from voteview.com

It evaluates aggregate statistics, with members grouped by party and congress, with easy weighted functions from Hmisc.

It does the aggregating and data.frame conversion all in one very easy step, using plyr. I have always done this type of aggregation in other ways (by(), *apply(), etc.), but plyr sure made it easy.

It makes a really pretty nice plot of the distribution of first-dimension ideological ideal points, by party, over time.