my question is might it be more effective from a handling standpoint to remove weight from the front of the car and selectively relocate weight towards the rear to improve weight distribution?
In theory, you should shoot for 50/50 weight distribution, but there is a practical limit to how close you need to get to that ideal. You also need to keep in mind that ideal weight distribution varies depending on which quality you are trying to improve. For example a Porsche with rear biased weight balance has much better dynamic weight distribution under hard braking than a car that is 50/50 or front biased. On the opposite, a front biased AWD car like the WRX will have an advantage during hard acceleration, as the weight transfer under acceleration will modify the static weight balance to shift weight onto the rear wheels.
To answer your question, you need to decide what charateristic is most important. "good handleing" is such a broad term it is nearly meaningless as each driver will put different emphasis on different characteristics.
At some point you get "close enough" to ideal weight balance, at which point you can get the car to do just about anything you want it to do with other means. Uneven weight balance is only a practical problem when it creates a handling effect that you can not overcome with typical chassis setup tweaks.
It is something that in my opinion should not be stressed to the point of obsession. Yes if you need to move a component for some other mechanical reason, relocate it with weight balance in mind. But the efforts to achieve ideal weight balance can chew up a bunch of time, effort and money better spent some place else. It is a matter of value received for effort invested, in which case I would say, make reasonable efforts to improve weight balance if you want spectacular handling (quick and easy mods like relocating the battery for example -- you gets lots of weight movement for a single relatively simple modification).